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11  Houdini x-stitch -- Tada! in Needlework: Completed Projects by BrocadeLion on: April 08, 2009 02:20:41 PM
I kinda doubt Houdini ever announced "tada!" at the completion of an illusion. But I like to. Sometimes randomly. Smiley

Here's my little tribute both to Houdini and to Teller, of Penn & Teller, for whom I made this piece.

Starting with a recognizable but relatively simple portrait of Houdini, I decided to go with six shades of grey plus white, which brought me to 7 colors. I wasn't even sure if I was going to be able to find six discrete greys, but that seemed to me to be enough differentiation without going totally overboard.

Harry Before and After

I spent a good hour or more combing through embroidery floss bins, hunting for six cool/neutral greys that looked like they belonged together. Then grabbed a roll of the finest resolution cross-stitch fabric I could find, which turned out to be 28-count.

For a frame, I had an idea that I might be able to use one side of a pair of handcuffs. Without actually having the cuffs on hand, I took some guesses about average wrist size ranges, did the math and decided on a 2.5" across portrait. Little.

Houdini Close-Up

When I was about half way finished, I was at TJ Maxx doing random shopping, and in their home dcor department stumbled across The. Perfect. Frame. I was so excited, I snatched it up without even registering how much it cost. Of course, this was TJ Maxx, so it turned out to be about $3. The little red frame was not only the perfect size, but look! Rope/knot detail!

Houdini Frame Detail

So that's it, the finished project. What I thought would take me about 2 weeks wound up taking closer to 6. When I think about how much time I put into it, I keep coming up with 80 hours, which just sounds impossible. A couple of friends who have seen it in person have said they'd have a hard time giving it up, and suggested maybe I should just keep it. It's a tempting thought, but I couldn't do that. As is always the case when I make things for people, I can't keep it because it was never mine to begin with.

However, I do still have this big ol'roll of 28-ct fabric... Maybe Poe next.


As usual, there is a slightly more blahblahblah version of this project on my blog.

Thanks for looking!
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12  Re: Hoodies for cats! in Pet-Related Crafts: Completed Projects by BrocadeLion on: January 09, 2009 12:20:15 PM
Count me in the nekkid critter club as well.

I'd love to see the pattern alterations. Sevie isn't crazy about clothes -- usually I just make sure to leave a couple of blankets out for him to snurgle himself into -- but I think he'd probably adjust. I'm not surprised that pulling the hood over the kitty puts her out -- I joke that Sevie is like a parrot. Throw a blanket over his head and he'll do the same thing; starts purring and just hunkers down.

On a side note, I bought a little ski vest at Target in the dollar bin area. It was meant for XS dogs but actually fit Sevie, and he's about average-sized for a Sphynx, I do believe.
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13  Flamin' Vinyl Reverse Applique (Vogue 8313) in Clothing for Curvaceous Craftsters: Completed Projects by BrocadeLion on: January 05, 2009 08:00:45 PM
Hey crafster peeps. Long time no post.

I'm here to tell you about my New Year's Eve dress. This project represented a whole passel of challenges and techniques I'd never used before. But why make something if I can't make it just how I want?

The pattern started life as Vogue 8313, View A, size 20. I'm about a 16 in RTW and I thought the 20 may actually be too small. Not so. I made a test dress first which fit so nicely, I omitted the zipper and kept it as a wearable dress. Once the dress was assembled in stretch vinyl, I actually took about two inches out of the waist!

This was my first project with stretch vinyl and my first reverse applique. I'm so glad I bought that stippling foot, even if I'd forgotten I had it (after I just haaaaad to buy it a few months ago).

Vinyl is tricky because you can't pin it together -- every hole shows. And oh you're in trouble if you stitch something together wrong and have to tear it apart -- which is pretty much guaranteed to happen at least once in every project I make. Not this time!

After being unable to find any in metro Detroit, I bought the vinyl online at Spandex House. It was very inexpensive and they shipped very quickly. Word to the wise: the vinyl is soft and will probably fall apart pretty soon, and worse, it smelled very strongly of petroleum when it arrived. A wash and airing out diminished the smell, but I'm convinced it's always going to be odiferous. I made it for a nightclub party, though, so I wasn't too concerned.

I taped the back/red layer under the top/black layer and taped the traced flames border (which I'd done on plain craft tissue) on top of that. Then tried to stay more or less within the lines while tracing with the freehand/stippling foot. That was kinda fun! After careful cutting to smooth out any necessary edges, the hard part was done.

The dress itself is very simple and went together quickly and easily. Because I was using a very sheer fabric for the upper, I did not use the facings as the pattern suggested, instead trimming the seam allowance off and finishing the neck edges with a matching bias tape. Turns out I think I prefer how that looked over, say, a narrow hem.

So, here are some pics!

After stitching, removing the flames paper pattern:

The upper layer cut out, with US quarter for scale:


The finished dress:

ETA: Happy to answer if anyone has questions. There's a much more blah-blah version of this project on my blog, the URL for which is below.

ETA: Hey! Best of 2009! Thanks, Craftsters!

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14  What, ANOTHER skulls-n-roses dress? in Clothing for Curvaceous Craftsters: Completed Projects by BrocadeLion on: June 17, 2008 11:17:44 AM
Coincidence, I swear.

I wanted to make a dress for a rodeo I was going to... I don't know why rodeos make me want to sew things. Because I don't wear bluejeans maybe. I was looking for something slightly different, though, but comfortable, and suitable for the "novelty" quilting cottons I like so much. I took a chance and started off with Simplicity 3745, which is probably already making people on this particular board cringe. The empire waist? Even quasi?? I liked the details, though, and thought the small pleats and whatnot may work. So I went for it anyway. And it gave me an excuse to use this combination of fabrics.

I haven't decided yet how it looks on me. It's comfortable to wear, but it's a little short in the bodice (vertically) -- it's the bust thing again. But it's a nice length and those big, kimono-esque sleeves are nice. As usual, I don't have a picture of myself in the dress, and I actually need to get someone's opinion on whether I look like a big egg in it or not before I'm willing to subject the public to it... But the pattern itself went together pretty easily. And for someone who does like this particular style/cut, I'd say it's a good one.

ETA: I made the dress in size 22 and I wear a 16 in RTW. It's always important to check your measurements, even in looser garments! I knew there was a good chance it would be smallish in the bust, but powered on anyway as I tend to do. If I make it again, I will figure out a way to lengthen the bodice for more chest room.
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15  Caution! Wild Animals! in Clothing for Curvaceous Craftsters: Completed Projects by BrocadeLion on: February 10, 2008 05:14:47 PM
I've got a couple of modified commercial patterns to post tonight.

Some time ago, I bought this pattern, Butterick 4188. As much as I like it, I apparently have a genetic inability to leave well enough alone, so I decided to modify the front. I scanned the tissue pieces and voodooed the front panels in Adobe Illustrator to remove the overlap and allow the insertion of -- you guessed it -- a zipper. I found a very nice dark teal woven (which the cutter at Joann suggested be my "signature" color because apparently it goes well with my coloring) and, uh, some King Kong flannel in the children's department.

Oh who am I kidding? It all started with the King Kong flannel.

I wear a 16-18 in RTW and I made this in size 22. I should not be surprised every time something fits me, but I still am. It's such a crapshoot sometimes. But after it was finished -- and fit -- I had to satisfy the next question: What exactly does one wear with a teal King Kong detailed shirt? Why, a teal King Kong detailed skirt, naturally.

I started with Simplicity 5914, a simple gored skirt. To pull it together, I decided to insert Kong-patterned piping. Of course, I've never made piping, but part of the pleasure of sewing, to me, is building the skillset. Turns out, piping is pretty easy. In fact, I see a lot more piping in my future.

I wore the outfit to the annual Dirty Show with a pair of tights which were a slightly lighter shade of teal and black ankle boots with bows. (I almost wore dark red patent leather heels for the contrast, but was talked out of it at the last minute.) This time I think the testimony to the success of the outfit is the fact that very few people mentioned it. I makes me a little paranoid when people immediately ask me "oh did you make that?" Why, does it look like some hack stitcher sewed it?? This time around the couple of comments I did get were about how cute the Kong detail fabric was. Naturally, today's pictures are after I've worn it, so it looks a little wonky on the dummy because of the creases and whatnot, and the skirt isn't quite as stiff as it may appear, and that zipper is a nice lavender, blahblah excusescakes.  Grin
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16  Re: the craftiest scooter(s) ever! Post em' if you got em'! in Completed Projects by BrocadeLion on: January 16, 2008 06:40:33 PM
Hey, just stumbled onto this thread. I haven't seen many "maxi" scooters here, but here's my 2002 Honda Silverwing 600 (alongside my previous Mazda RX-8):

That's also me with it in my avatar. Gotta get some better pictures this summer!

I was just thinking tonight about winter projects for the scoot. A seat cover might be cool, especially since the back bolsters are movable, which means I can do them in contrast. The problem with that is that the seat is so big, I'm not sure how to do it so that it doesn't shift around with I straddle the thing.

I'd also like to get my helmet painted (I've got one of the flat black leather-covered half helmets), but what I really REALLY want is a bit of a mural somewhere along the broadside. I want a cartoon Gamera stomping across the Detroit skyline.  Wink I just need an artist! Trades anyone?  Grin
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17  "Mephistuffoles" presides over Beanie Hell in Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed by BrocadeLion on: January 07, 2008 08:52:19 AM
If you have extreme Beanie Baby sensitivities or tend to over-anthropomorphize the inanimate, you may want to look away. However, if you're only mildly sick in the head, you may find this as funny as I did.  Wink

I almost never dress up for Halloween because if I were to do a costume the way I want to do it, I would be way overdressed for any occasion I might be invited to. Then I'd either feel like an idiot or like a superior jackass. Either way.

This year, though, I decided to work the pun-as-costume angle, and also managed to work in something I've been wanting to do for years.

I admit, I had done the top a while ago. I was in a second hand store one day and came across this really hilarious devil Valentine plushie, complete with fuzzy red hair and a nice big red flaming heart on his chest. I walked around with that thing for minutes thinking, "What on earth would I do with a stuffed devil?" But I couldn't put it down. So I devised a plan.

He became bisected vertically and hand-stitched to a store-bought black top, with a little bit of padding for his body and keeping his arms and legs free. His giant feet flop around when I move, and grabbing his hands is rather irresistible, if in dangerous territory. ("Watch it, buddy.")

For this year's costume, I decided to take the concept one step further -- well, actually, about 10 steps, as that is how many teeny beanies gave their lives for the project.

Let me tell you, those things are sewn together like crazy. To represent the tortured beanie souls, I picked each one apart, bear-rug style, removed the guts, and hand-stitched them all over a store-bought black skirt. I used red embroidery floss and intentionally made the stitches rather ragged, in an Ed Gein inspired way. And you know, it took me twice as long to sew sloppily as it would have to sew evenly. Damned OCD.

Below that whole mess I wore flame-printed tights and some nice Cenobite buckled boots and became... Mephistuffoles and the pits of Beanie Hell.

No, no one really got it.  Embarrassed Suckers.

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18  Re: Gators for troops - but can't understand these *$(@Y^% directions! in Clothing: Discussion and Questions by BrocadeLion on: September 27, 2007 06:02:11 PM
I haven't looked at the other instructions, but I can tell you what was goofy about the instructions I originally used was that there is this thing that happens when you turn it inside out -- the opening that was on the top becomes an opening on the side. If you make one and just muddle through it, it'll probably make sense.

If not, the former location of my instruction sheet has poofed, but I put a jpg version on my Flickr page -- maybe it'll help, maybe not! But give it a looksee.

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19  Re: please help me, firefly fans! in Stenciling: Discussion and Questions by BrocadeLion on: September 25, 2007 01:46:29 PM
How's this?

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20  Re: smock top from pillowcase in Clothing for Curvaceous Craftsters: Completed Projects by BrocadeLion on: September 11, 2007 06:15:50 PM
I promised I'd let everyone know if I tried it. I made a version a couple of weeks ago. I hadn't really worn it, but I put it on this weekend, so I took some snapshots. And then left it on. It's not the most flattering thing (we were talking about its suitability for bustier girls), but honestly, I've probably worn worse. Also it would probably be more comfortable if the cotton body fabric I chose was less itchy. (WHY is this itchy?!) And this is, uh, sans underthings.

I sweethearted the top band, thinking that might be a little more flattering on me. I also took some of the volume out of the overall body, making it almost straight and down, and hemmed it above my hips. I'm not sure if this was a great idea or not. I should have cantilevered the straps in the back more than I did, or put a little bit of elastic in them or something -- it's fairly snug under my arms (intentionally) and the straps kept falling down. I LOVE the pin tucks, though, and want to use them on more things.

As always, I couldn't take a full picture of myself in it. I have GOT to figure out how to get my camera to focus correctly when I put it on timer. I hate those end-of-arm pictures. blarg
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