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161  Babydoll Dress and Wide, Fitted Belt w/Dress tutorial (Pic Heavy) in Clothing: Completed Projects: General by graverobbergirl on: May 25, 2008 06:58:26 PM

Im not really up on whats in fashion, but I feel like this baggy, gathered style was/is more common as of late. Anyway, I just felt like making something different and had this lovely fabric kicking around.


1. Draft collar piece. Measure width of shoulders and make note. Measure length from top of shoulder (if wearing a t-shirt, use the seam there) to where you'd like the bottom of the collar to sit. Make note of measurement. Fold piece of paper (I use brown packaging paper) in half. Draw rectangle with half of width measurement and length (shoulder to scoop). Decide how thick/wide you would like the collar to be. (I chose 2" finished). Add 1/2" for seam allowances. (With fold to left side) Measure in from top right hand corner desired width and mark. Do the same from bottom left hand corner. Sketch appealing curve connecting marks. With ruler/measuring tape, mark out desired width at various points along curve. Connect these to get the bottom of the collar.

Cut out. Unfold.

2. Cut Pieces (about 2 1/2 yds of fabric and 1 yd of contrast, which also allowed enough for the belt):

Dress Fabric- With selvages together, mark desired length (I did one yard). Cut. Repeat (for back). The fabric I used was 45" wide.

It may seem like excessive amounts of material, but that is what gives the "gathered" effect. Trim off selvages if they interfere with print.

Mark and cut piece for sleeve (I used 8 1/2" for sleeve length, allowing for seam and hem). Cut the 45" wide piece in half so you have two sleeve pieces.

Cut four pieces out of contrast for collar and facing using drafted pattern.

Also cut two pieces of interfacing using collar pattern.

3. Mark armhole length (measure from top of shoulder to underarm, allowing some leeway for give) measuring from "top" of front and back pieces. With right sides together, sew side seams stopping at mark. Press seams open.

4. Baste across top of front and back pieces (separately). These will be gathering stitches.

5. Iron interfacing to collar pieces (2).

With right sides together, sew pieces together at shoulder seams. Press open.

6. With right sides together attach bottom of collar to top of dress, overlapping front and back pieces at shoulder seams of collar, and gathering basting stitches to fit.

Sew. Press seam up (towards collar).

7. Sew collar facing same as collar. Press 1/4" under along bottom.

With right sides together, stitch upper edges of collar and collar facing together. Press facing to inside.

8. On outside of garment, stitch in the ditch along collar, catching facing on inside. Press collar flat.

9. Baste upper edges of sleeves. Sew side seams. Press open.

Finish lower edges of sleeves (press up 1/4" or so and then fold edge under to form "narrow hem" while stitching close to edge...or zigzag stitch, etc.)

10. With right sides together, attach sleeves to armholes, gathering basting stitched to fit (or to taste-I prefer to place the gathers on the shoulder). Stitch. Stitch again 1/4" away from first line of stitching. Press seams towards sleeves.

11. Hem bottom of dress to desired length.

Be sad because of frumpiness, then

12. Find belt or make one. (I used the "waist cinch belt" from McCall's M4492, minus the gathered fabric, and with hand sewn eyelets because they're easier than trying to locate real ones, not to mention cheaper...)

Fashion Shots (aka I Am A Dork)

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162  Alice In Wonderland Embroidered Bag in Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General by graverobbergirl on: May 04, 2008 09:28:35 PM
Although the majority of the work involved in this is embroidery, I thought it belonged here since the finished project is a bag (correct me if I'm wrong).

I can't tell you how long it took me to do the needlework...but I love handsewing, so no biggie. Plus, I got to teach myself a new skill! YAY for library books! When the embroidery panels were finally done, I went through my mom's crazy quilt fabric stash and set aside fabrics I liked. Then I designed a purse, cut pieces and sewed it all together, Voila!

This is the front flap, featuring the panel with the Queen of Hearts and Alice (inspired but John Tenniel's illustrations). The panel is about ten by ten inches.

This is the inside with a pocket featuring the other embroidery panel: Alice and the flamingo croquet mallet. It's about 6 by 6 inches.

This is the back. Originally, the pocket was going to be sewn to this piece, but I fell in love with the chessboard patchwork and couldn't cover it up. It's comprised of 100 1 1/2"  (1" finished) squares. This was a good deal of machine sewing (I'm not big on the quilting, so a bit out of my comfort zone).

YAY! Storage of Alice Paraphanalia.
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163  A Couple of Collages: Dragon and Alice in More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works by graverobbergirl on: March 18, 2008 12:09:09 PM
I used to be a painter, but haven't had all that much time fore it lately, instead favoring crafting. And when I went back to it, I found myself adding little crafty bits instead of straight oil painting.

Dragon Painting/Collage:

The main body of the dragon is done in oil. The scales are old, useless CDs (you can see the camera reflected in them). The feathers are real raven feathers (which I scavenged from a frozen, dead carcass I came across in the woods-and washed with disinfectant soap). The Tongue, teeth, eyebrows (for lack of a better word) and nostrils are heavy-weight textured origami paper. The background and eye is crayon wax (that was an interesting experiment). The little shiny bits on the wings are silver seed beads.

Alice In Wonderland Collage:

The first one is closer to the real colors (my new camera as hue-capturing issues).

Alice is the only part done in oil paints. The rest is oil pastels, which was a whole lot of fun, but makes the piece difficult to transport/touch.

Butterflies cut out of playing cards and bent to give 3D effect.

Chess pieces out of scrapbooking paper.

Jack was the first part of this piece I did. It was completely random and done as a sort of self-therapy. You can tell that I did this without planning ahead (hence the sort of chaos and the fact that it is an extremely busy piece)

The pocket watch is out of scrapbook paper as well, and the chain is made origami-style.

And these are the only real works of art I've done in the past year or so...
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164  Brocade Half-Vest Thingy: A Solution for Those With A Bosom *Added Tut* in Clothing: Completed Projects: General by graverobbergirl on: March 18, 2008 11:15:19 AM
Problem: Fitted shirts sized to your waist squish your boobs. Or you lose curves when choosing a top that fits your bust.

Solution: The Half-Vest Thingy...now you can prove that you have a waist while still retaining the ability for your chest to do its respiration thing.

"Aww, I have no waist...(and look retarded in this picture)"

"YAY! Look, Curves! And my chest isn't being crushed!"

Back (Stolen from a simplicity vest pattern. I drafted the front and front-side pieces myself)

Laces up, using my favourite new technique, hand-sewn eyelets made with tailor's awl. I used stretchy cord which is awesome, because I never have to completely unlace it. Although getting it over the bustline can be somewhat difficult.

Side-View, demonstrating the reason why shirts that fit my bust rarely fit my waist. (I feel sorry for girls larger than me. It must be impossible to find anything fitted that you don't make yourself.)

The Vest By Itself.

I got to finish off (except for a few minute scraps) the brocade I bought on sale to make my duster, which I also had enough to make a skort out of...and this vest! SCORE!

I may have seen something like this in real life before, but not that I can recall. I was honestly inspired-as I often am-by sci-fi television. This time, it was the half-vest thingies that are adorned by the women in Earth 2, most notably the character of Bess Martin (see above). Mine is a little more pirate-y with lacing instead of buttons, red brocade and my white blouse.

*Semi-Helpful Tips and Tutorial*


I have a 42" bust and 33" waist, so I understand the top-heavy issue. But it doesn't look that intense here, right?

Well, I'll tell you why...

First off, my tricks for demphasizing:

-I love my sports bra, not the kind that gives you a uniboob. It keeps everything nicely contained while still giving you some normal-looking shape.

-Layers! Long-sleeved undershirts with moderate to high necklines conceal all that stuff your sportsbra is keeping in. Black is recommended, and works even under a white blouse!

Finally, IMHO, a busty individual looks more top heavy in a t-shirt that has no form. They cling to the bust and just sort of hang from there, obscuring the rest of the curves and making her look like an inverted triangle. Showing the waist reveals/emphasizes the curve and presence of hips (even if they are smaller than the bust), which in turn creates a more hourglass shape rather than the top-heavy triangle.

So, even though your breasts seem to be more out there, so are the rest of your curves that give you more shape and make you appear less top-heavy.

What you need (for my cheater's method):

-a vest or shirt pattern you like/want to base your half-vest upon. I used Simplicity 4079. (unless you're keen to draft a pattern from scratch)

-I used brown packaging paper in this instance, because the cat kept pouncing and ripping up the regular gift wrap. Plus if you use a pencil, it will just go right through the wrapping paper if it's on a soft surface, say like the living room rug where I do most of my crafting.

-Fabric: I'm not precisely sure of the yardage, because I used leftovers, but my vest pattern calls for about 2-2.5 yds including lining. I feel that much less is actually needed.

-Sewing paraphernalia

-For eyelets: embroidery floss and a tailor's awl.

-lacing or cord, etc. Unless you opt for buttons

Here's How I went about making my Half-Vest Thingy: (sorry didn't take in-progress pics)

1. Because I'm a cheater, I first dug the vest pattern out of my collection. Since I wanted the back of my half-vest to be vest-like, I took the relevant pieces out and put them aside. For hardcore drafters, you probably already know how to go about designing a vest back (two center pieces in this case, and two side-backs, as well as two strips that serve as ties).

2. Again, because I am too lazy to to do all the measuring and designing,and too anal to trust my own judgment (in particular the under arm seams are unpleasant), I took the vest's side-front and front pieces as a basis. I traced them onto my brown packaging paper, in order to establish the curve around the arm.

3. In order to lower the "neckline", I basically did an educated guess sort of thing. I measured from where the shoulder seam would sit to my underbust, along my side so as not be skewed by said bust.

4. Ultimately, you should have pieces that look something like this:

5. Cut Fabric:
-back: 2 of fabric, 2 of lining
-Sideback: 2 of fabric, 2 of lining
-Strips for ties: 2 of fabric (double desired width of finished ties plus extra for seams)
-front: 2 of fabric, 2 of lining
-side front: 2 of fabric, 2 of lining
-2 strips of fabric for eyelets: 2.5" wide by length of front piece

6. Assemble pieces for back (make sure you place ties between back and sideback pieces). Attach side fronts to fronts.

7.Attach front pieces to back at shoulder seams.

8. Assemble lining in same manner.

9. With Right sides together, completely sew garment to lining, only leaving sideseams open.

10. Turn through shoulders and out sides. Press.

11. With right sides together, sew side seams as much as feasibly possible. You will have to hand sew the few remaining inches closed after turning seams inside. Pressing with iron will make this easier. (Sorry I can't describe this better...I'll see if I can locate/make an illustration).

12.For eyelets, sew two strips and turn so that you have two tubes. Press flat.  Hand sew ends closed.  Mark out desired amount of eyelets (I used 5 on each side). Sew eyelets- This is where I first learned of the technique, and they probably describe it better than I could:


13. Lace however you prefer (there are a surprisingly large number of variations).

14. Try on and feel stylishly geeky.

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165  Geologically Correct Earth Cake in Dessert by graverobbergirl on: March 07, 2008 07:54:28 AM
I made this last fall in celebration of the earth's birthday, which can be calculated from the Bible down to the minute or something crazy like that.  It's on October anyway.

The Crust is the frosting layer, blue of course, with icing outlined continents and glaciers (maybe they should be smaller by now).

(the bottom of the pan was a bit messy, as were my cake-cutting skills.)

The inside was the tricky part, especially since we don't have any fancy cake making devices in our house, beyond the basic 9" rounds, bunt and springform.

I used the springform and put a metal dish/bowl in the middle to bake the chocolate Mantle layer.

Then I used that metal dish/bowl to bake the Outer Core layer (yellow cake died neon red-orange) with a smaller one inside of it, to make it a ring like the Mantle.

The Inner Core was the easiest, just fill up the small bowl with yellow cake (with extra die for neon status) and bake.

Putting them all together was a bit tricky, as was figuring out how much batter would be enough without overflowing (needless to say, there was some oven scrubbing involved later).

But it was an awesomely fun cake to have around/eat!
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166  Because every girl needs a Death cloak... in Halloween Costumes by graverobbergirl on: December 19, 2007 09:31:18 PM
This was my Halloween costume (a little late in posting, I know...especially since I made it in August).

It is constructed from modified pieces of four different patterns I had in my stash. I used grommets to make it lace up in front and it has a sort of built-in corset with boning to give it form.

With Scythe:
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167  My First Attempt at Medieval (and entirely by hand) in Costumes: Completed Projects by graverobbergirl on: December 19, 2007 08:43:28 PM
"Are you crazy?" you may ask.

I would have to say "yes." But sometimes I find hand-sewing that much more enjoyable.

When I saw that Jo-Ann Fabrics has some fabric wicked on sale (50% off already low red-label stuff) I couldn't resist finally trying out the medieval pattern I had bought so long ago for about .99 (McCall's M4492). I love period costuming but previously have never been able to afford a ten-yard endeavour.

I went with the vest option rather than one of the belts because this gorgeous red brocade was on sale, so much so I even lined the vest with it as well. I love this Vest pattern with its entirely hidden seams.


Detail of vest front with decorative gold trim.


Detail of back. Both the vest and gown lace up (actually down) with eyelets. The method I used to makes the eyelets is described below.

This is the gown by itself. A little bit on the see-through side (good thing I wore my slip). And you can see that the sleeves are a white color and the body of the dress is cream-colored (there wasn't enough of either fabric left on the bolt).


This baby has an intense train. It took forever to hem!

Classic medieval sleeves

Detail showing ribbon (with casing sewn on inside) used to cinch otherwise baggy sleeve tight to arm.


I'm not really sure exactly how you're supposed to hand sew garments, but I used a running stitch down each length, then came back to fill it in solid, so that it resembled the type of stitch you get off a machine. My mom, veteran seamstress and quiltmaker 'tested' the seams for me, aka grabbed it and tugged on it as hard as she could. She was impressed, so I felt satisfied they would suffice. I reinforced the shoulder/arm seam with several layers of stitching.

I couldn't find eyelets that I liked, online or in shops, but I did find out about a traditional method of making eyelets (from a renassaince costumer's site that I cannot remember now). A tailor's awl is used to make a hole in the fabric without breaking the fibers, then thread is used to sew around it like with a buttonhole to make the eyelet. Because the fibers aren't broken as with using metal eyelets (which you cut/punch a hole for), the eyelets last as long as the garment does, unlike with metal eyelets, from which the fabric will eventually pull away. I had never heard this before, but decided to give it a go, found an awl at Jo-Ann's (ergonimic one at that), busted out the embroidery thread, and forty-eight eyelets later, I am convinced.

I loved doing this and envy those who make a living this way!
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168  Black 40s-esque Dress w/ Neon Skulls in Clothing: Completed Projects: General by graverobbergirl on: December 19, 2007 08:22:52 PM
I should have finished this for Halloween, but didn't get it done until a couple days after (and am just now posting it almost two months later). I also already had a Halloween costume. I just loved this pattern (Simplicity 3877). It felt kind of 40s-esque. But of course, being me, I had to add a twist: "Let's make it black with neon skulls and bones!"

You can't see it well in the pictures, but there are ties that wrap around the waist. I put a skull on one and a green bone on the other.

Pink bones for the collar

I even made special buttons out of polymer clay, which look much cooler than in this blurry picture.
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169  Necklaces: Pirate, Pac-Man, Mario 1UP Mushroom, TARDIS & Shattered CD in Polymer Clay: Completed Projects by graverobbergirl on: September 23, 2007 08:06:12 PM
Necklaces I have made featuring my own hand-crafted beads (from Sculpey II).

Pirate Necklace:

I made the skulls and dubloons.

Pac-Man Necklace:

Normally, I like colors to be spread out evenly, but this layout seemed more logical for Pac-Man, being chased by the multicolored ghosts, chasing the blue ghosts.

I painted the details with acrylic craft paint.

Mario 1UP Mushroom:

One of the few experiments of using more than one bit of clay (white and green)to form a complete piece. If you don't meld them well, they'll fall apart.

These seemed like the proper accent bead to make. I'm not sure what they're actually called. We always called them question-mark boxes.

TARDIS/Blue Box/Doctor Who:

I made two of these; one with blue accent beads, the other with red.

I made the beads with blue Sculpey and a sharp knife. I painted the details with acrylic craft paint. (I absolutely LOVE these!)

Shattered CD:

I recently went through all our old CDs (useless, out of date computer software-we got a new PC), and now they're in my "To Be Recycled in Crafts" pile. So, I figured, why not make some beads. I cut triangles of various colors of Sculpey, and cut a few strips from the CD into little pieces, pressed them into the clay, baked them, strung them, voila! I don't know why, but it gives me an 80s vibe.

Anyway, thanks for looking!

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170  Olive My New Olive-Green Outfit!! in Clothing: Completed Projects: General by graverobbergirl on: August 29, 2007 06:38:37 PM
Okay, I couldnt resist the word play. Again, I had made the pants quite awhile ago, but never got around to posting them, but looknow theyre part of an awesome outfit! I couldnt resist the sari-style material (it was on sale).

The material for the shirt/tunic fades from light to dark and then has a paisley-filled border, so I had to do quite a bit of thinking/fussy cutting to get it to work. I also had to cut the border out separately and attach it to the pieces where I wanted it (because the edges of the pieces curve and cutting them out directly on the border would truncate the design, whereas I could ease into place by stitching it on where I wanted). I chose to use the wrong side of the border and inset for contrast.

It ties in the back, but the pieces were so small, they were impossible to turn, so I used ribbon from our stash (thank god Mom has an insanely large amount of craft supplies), and it matched perfectly-olive green with gold!

Overall, this pattern is not too difficult (Simplicity # 4180), if you dont pick a crazy material like I did!

I cant remember the pattern for the pants, besides that it too is Simplicity. If you really want to know, I can dig it out. Theyre a nice style and fit, but because I used a knit, kind of clingy.

Because knits are so crazy-difficult to use sometimes, I decided to make the yoke out of a different, stronger material (easier to maintain shape when sewing curve) I had left over from a dress I made, which just happened to match pretty well!
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