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1  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / the Sherlock Polar Vortex coat on: January 21, 2014 07:45:53 PM
Living in Chicago when the Polar Vortex is at play is no laughing matter. With -14 degree Fahrenheit temperatures and wind chill that makes it feel like its -50, theres no room to mess around with staying warm. Unfortunately, I am a picky soul, and I can never bring myself to simply go to the North Face and buy a bland, puffy down coat, no matter how warm it will keep me. Not to mention the fact that my bank account cannot afford a luxury like that.

Luckily for me I have ingenuity and an extensive sewing prowess on my side.

When I moved back to Chicago last fall my dad offered up his huge, heavy wool coat that he had bought from some military surplus store back in the 60s. He had used it to stay warm through the frigid Boston winters of his youth, so it was only fitting that it should find its way to Chicago to keep me safe from the Arctic temperatures. I was given free reign to do with it as I saw fit.
But I knew that wool alone would not keep me warm enough, so I went scavenging until I found a full-length down coat at Goodwill. I cannot spend $500 on a good winter coat, but I can spend $50. I decided the best thing to do would be to combine them into one coat that would be capable of both appearing semi-stylish and keeping me cozy as possible.

So with much hefting and seam ripping and combining I managed to bring together one coat, with a woolen shell and a down interior, lined with silk polka dots and orange taping (because I am not one for subtlety). While I tailored the entire coat to fit me, tapering the waist and shoulder width while shortening the sleeves, I made sure to maintain original features. All of the original buttons are still on, the epaulettes have been moved to the cuffs, and the original pleat in the back was used as inspiration for the now-elaborate pleating that I created.

As a final feather in my cap, while I was working on it I researched the buttons (one holds the initials NFS while all of the others are three sprawling lions) I discovered that this is an original coat from the National Fire Service in England. Which I find highly appropriate, given the fact that once I put on the finished product, I noticed it held a remarkable similarity to Sherlocks flipped-collar coat.

The game is afoot, Polar Vortex.

Sherlock Coat by graceduVal, on Flickr

And because this is always fun, here are the two coats BEFORE:
2  CLOTHING / Costumes: Completed Projects / Breakfast Princess says it's Adventure Time! on: October 17, 2012 12:07:26 PM
SO my friend asked me to come to New York Comic Con with her last week. I had never been, but I'm never one to turn down an opportunity to dress up! She told me that she and her four-year-old were going as Dr. Princess and Young Princess Bubblegum from Adventure Time, and she told me that I should go as Breakfast Princess. At this point I had never seen the show, but as soon as I saw a picture of her, I KNEW that it had to happen! I immediately started watching tons of Adventure Time and concocted my scheme for making the costume. Google image searching confirmed that this was a difficult costume to execute well, as every other costume of BP looked incredibly frumpy and ill-fitting. But I knew I could make mine epic!

So I set to work and came up with this guy... The skirt is just a foam mattress topper that I made into a circle skirt and spray painted... the rest is all made of fabric and lots of fancy sewing. The toast top is actually a corset that laces up on both sides and is fully boned.

I was super excited with the way it all turned out, and I got stopped the WHOLE time I was there for pictures. NYCC was completely overwhelming but totally awesome!


me with Young Princess Bubblegum!

the whole Adventure Time crew!

at McDonald's after the insanity
3  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Re: Home-built mechanical finger prosthetic on: September 12, 2012 09:13:48 AM
This is phenomenal in every way, and your desire to share it with the world just proves what an incredible person you are.

You should put this on Instructables, you're guaranteed to get a huge response, spread the word even more, and you could probably win some contests [if you so chose].
4  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Caffeinated Coffee Filter Corset! on: February 17, 2012 07:49:41 AM
I took a corset making class last semester, and our first task was to make a corset out of paper. I decided to make mine entirely out of coffee filters in different forms. The main part of the bodice is made from coffee-dyed filters that have been molded to the form with paper mache. The hip protrusions are cardboard and paper mache covered in unaltered filters, and the lace trim around the top is made entirely from coffee grounds.


5  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Caffeinated Coffee Corset! on: February 13, 2012 04:36:33 PM
I took a corset making class last semester, and our first task was to make a corset out of paper. I decided to make mine entirely out of coffee filters in different forms. The main part of the bodice is made from coffee-dyed filters that have been molded to the form with paper mache. The hip protrusions are cardboard and paper mache covered in unaltered filters, and the lace trim around the top is made entirely from coffee grounds.


6  Halloween / Halloween Costumes / Rubberized Bicycle Tube Armor for Joan of Arc on: November 08, 2011 02:42:43 PM
Hi Guys!

This is a suit of armor made entirely out of cardboard and bicycle tubes, styled after the style of armor that Joan of Arc would have worn.

The entire base is constructed from cardboard that is cut and hot-glued into shape. Each individual piece was then covered in multiple coats of brown paper dipped in wallpaper paste, creating a thin, lightweight but very sturdy form of paper mache.

Every piece was then gesso-ed to remove any corrugation lines, then spray painted matte black.

After the individual pieces were primed I applied the bicycle tubes in varying combinations to create varying effects, such as weaving, stretching, piping, and other cuttings and manipulations. The tubes were adhered to the frame using rubber cement.

Finally, each piece was connected together using an awl, screws and acorn cap fittings to create a more intense armored feel.

This armor took about fifty hours of intense work to execute. It was a labor of love, that's for sure!

Have a look! Thanks!

7  Halloween / Halloween Costumes / Joan of Arc [her steed was a fixed gear] on: October 17, 2011 03:01:13 PM
EDIT: This is up in the Halloween craft competition, soooo if you wouldn't mind, go vote for me under "Rubberized Bicycle Tube Armor for Joan of Arc" and help me win a BERNINA here:  


This has drained my brain for the past few weeks. We were instructed to make historical garments based on a drawing or painting, replicate it directly and then manipulate whatever material we chose to make it out of. I chose to replicate Joan of Arcs suit of armor, which nobody actually knows what it looks like or where it disappeared over the course of history.

The entire garment has been constructed from paper mached cardboard, which was then covered entirely in bicycle tubes that have been stretched, woven, piped, cut and manipulated in various ways over every individual piece of armor. The entire thing was then assembled using nuts and bolts.

And because people asked, there are probably 40-50 hours worth of work in this. Also, bicycle tubes might be the most underused/awesomest/cheapest material ever. To get them, literally walk into a bike shop and say "hey, can I have your old tubes?" and they go "why yes" and hand you a giant stack that you can barely carry home and leaves you smelling like rubber. But they're FREE.

Dare I say, this might be the most labor-intensive project I have ever undertaken

8  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / going to the chapel and we're gonna get... elope'd! on: May 06, 2011 11:06:22 PM
so my awesome friend has an amazing Scottish boyfriend, and one day they were like... "screw this visa immigration bs, let's go get married in VEGAS."

I was all like "OOOH OOOH LET ME MAKE YOU A DRESS" [and matching bowtie].

this is the result of said interaction:

the package all ready to ship out to the fabulous Sin City:

they tie the knot tomorrow, I am SO EXCITED to see pictures from it!

hey guys! lots have asked about the pattern, so I thought I'd let you all know. I didn't use a pattern, I simply draped it on my dress form. It's a super easy pattern though, it's just a circle skirt with a crinoline underneath that I made. Very simple straight waistband, and the top is just a normal princess seamed, sweetheart neckline top. It only looks complicated because the outside blue layer I free-form draped with pleats. Easy peasy!

Thanks so much for all the love!
9  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / my first clothing line! (picture explosion) on: May 11, 2010 01:45:38 PM
hey guys! I haven't been around these parts for a while, but for very good reason! I've been sewing and sewing and sewing until my fingers bleed and then sewing some more! See, this past November my good friend Anne and I got a research grant through our uni and we've spent the past six months making it happen!

Essentially this is what happened: Anne is a textiles designer and I'm... well, I'm technically a sculpture major, but let's get over that and say I'm a fashion designer... anyways, We started by co-designing the entire line together and then we split off to do our own talents. We only used old and recycled fabrics like sheets and drapes, which we got from the thrift store. Anne took the fabric and dyed them and embroidered it and then I'd make it into clothing! So the entire line was eco-friendly, and was also inspired by the lines of antique furniture.

On top of all that design nonsense Anne and I are super good at event planning, so we held the show at a SUPER swanky French restaurant where the models walked on the bar as a runway! It was a spectacular show and it went SO SO SO well and there were tons of people there!! I'm excited about how well it went, and I'm also super glad that it's all done! I never really thought about how much time and energy it would take to make it all happen, but it was totally worth it!

I won't take up all of your bandwidth with pictures, so if you're interested you can look at the rest of the pictures, including ones from the actual show, on my blog
10  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / macbook magic! on: February 22, 2010 10:17:47 AM
OK, so I know this is super nerdy, but I couldnt help myself I got myself a new (to me) macbook over Christmas and I love it to death. Problem was that I didnt have a case for it. WELL, I simply couldnt run out and buy one! (I have this complex where I cant buy things that I know I can make)

Instead I rummaged through all of my fabric (which I realize every day that I have waaaayyy too much of) and pulled out alot of random fabrics and whipped this up! Some of it is made from scraps of IKEA curtains that I saved when some friends moved into their apartment. Its got a middle layer of batting so its padded, which it needed. The design is based straight off of an envelope, so it was a super simple pattern. and now my beautiful laptop is protected in style!

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