Category Archives: Other Arts and Crafts

Invisible zippers, double top-stitching, and pleated ruffles

As mentioned, I spent the last 2 weeks almost non-stop sewing every minute I was home (with the exception of the weekend Koby came. Koby trumps sewing).  The final count on the projects is as follows.

  • four long full skirts in pretty fall colors
  • one jean skirt (for Michelle)
  • one greyed lavender twirly skirt
  • one incredibly awesome petticoat to wear with long skirts
  • a mp3 pocket I can wear like a necklace– I’ll photograph and post on that later.

The four skirts (the four on the outside in the above picture) are from a 6 gored pattern I drafted myself years ago. They are floor length and wide enough that I can do anything I want with no restriction of movement. And they are fun and flowy! Last fall, I saw cotton solids in colors I had been looking for for ages now. A deep Jasper orange, cranberry red, plum purple, and a soft jade green– I’m so pleased with them!

The learning curve on these (and the rest for that matter) was the use of invisible zippers, a first for me. The verdict is that, with an invisible zipper foot, they are easy, but odds are, I will have to use the seam ripper at least once per zipper because I WILL turn something or another the wrong way. Even with that annoyance, I much prefer them to normal zippers.

The shorter skirt in greyed lavender was part of that bunch of fabric, but I purchased the last of it, and there wasn’t enough for a long skirt. Instead, I based the pattern on a skirt I have. Apparently, I didn’t measure correctly, because it was too tight across the hips, but I managed to just drop the waistline and take it in a bit on top. It worked out, though the repairs look less neat on the inside. I’ll have to fix that pattern for next time.

The jean skirt I was quite intimidated by– my college roommate asked me to make it, and we’d purchased denim years ago and I never got around to sewing the skirts (they would have been in the 6 gored pattern). She wanted pockets and bought a commercial pattern. The double top-stitching worried me because I was dubious about how parallel I could make my stitching (I tend to sew a bit haphazardly). However, most of it went beautifully. Oddly enough, the back seam did not ask for double top-stitching, but it seemed weird without. Making that work with the zipper was hard though. Up close, I’m not 100% satisfied, but I’d hope no one is looking that closely at her backside! Now, I need to wash it (the fabric left my hands tinted blue) and then pray it fits when I see her next. (No photo for now– it didn’t turn out by itself, and it’s not my size. Hopefully Michelle will model it for me!)

The last (and awesomest!) skirt is the petticoat. Initially, I was just intending to do a long skirt like the other four in muslin. In the past, I had a cheap “peasant skirt” in white that I wore beneath my long skirts as I detest the texture and fit of slips. However, the zipper broke, and now, the fabric around the zipper is completely shredded from the safety pin I was using as a closure. I needed a replacement. Sometimes I layer different colors, but sometimes, I just need something neutral! Thus, I purchased unbleached muslin for a long skirt.

However, I am also working on repairing my Kirtle– the dress a 15th century working class woman in England would wear (yep, I am part of a Renaissance guild!)– and as the hem was shredded and I’ve seen documentation of a ruffled hem, I used left over fabric to even out and lengthen the hem, with knife pleats every inch or two. That inspired me to alter my petticoat plans to include a ruffle. Only this time, I went all out! Full on knife pleats every quarter inch. Given that the dress is already wide, pinning those took a looooong time (two movies later, I was nearly done.) Just for curiosity’s sake, I did some math. Just under 350 pleats (and thus, the same number of pins. I nearly ran out.) They are tacked down along about 10 feet. The bottom hem is… 13 yards. Yes, yards. That would be 39 feet.

The ruffle was extremely tedious to sew, but the end result was worth it. It looks amazing with my long skirts, adding some volume and billowing around my feet as I walk. Small children watch me in stores, and a 3-year-old told me she liked my dress– made my day!

Pictures of the skirts in action! Please excuse the fact that I am neither a model nor a photographer, and most definitely not both at once.

The plum-colored skirt, petticoat, and (if you look closely) the mp3 pocket thingy!

The Jasper orange skirt– I’m not sure how I like the complete outfit though. I may need to find some shirts to match better.

The cranberry red with a sweater I found at the thrift store. Please ignore the fact that I look like a dork. The others were even worse, haha.

The Jade green skirt with a shrug I found along with the above sweater. On a whim, I paired them and I think I now have a favorite outfit for warmer days!

The lavender with the skirt it was patterned from layered underneath– layering skirts is fun! There are pretty lacy bits on the camisole and cover, but you can’t see them in this view. And my socks are from sockdreams.com– awesome website! If anyone feels the need to throw away money, buy me pretty socks!

 


Frilly Flowers

I made these flowers ages ago as can be seen by the sunshine in the photos. Since I was woefully absent, I never posted them. Also, I have yet to sew the majority together. I saw this project on another blog (link to come– be patient while I dig through my favorites in the next few days).

I made the first one into a pin.

I actually made a whole bunch (I just need to do the beading and attach them to shirt pins, hair clips, hair pins, etc.)

Look how tiny this one is!


Naked Poetry Book

Yet another swap on swap-bot, but this time within a group. It was recommended I’d encounter far fewer flakers within the group swaps, so I’m trying it out. I was afraid I was going to be moving soon, so I avoided swaps, but this one I couldn’t resist! The idea was to put at least four poems in a booklet, decorate the cover, and send it through the mail with no envelope– thus the “naked” part. As usual, I went overboard.

I decided to make the booklet by hand (trying coptic binding for the first time) and using the techniques from Samantha Kira’s Wish Journal workshop to make the pages. THEN I decided to glue the poems in line by line. AND fill the booklet. The last 24 hours before mailing had a whole lot more stress than sleep, as you might imagine. The cover was a bit dull, but I feel the inside makes up for it. It’s far from perfect — crooked lines and loose binding, glue smudges and fonts I forgot to change after copying and pasting into a document for printing– but I really love the poetry I chose, including  poems by Pablo Neruda, Nikki Giovanni, Mark Jarman, Eve Merriam, and others. Click the thumbnails if you’d like to read them.


Postdated: Fish Garland

Another April craft, also for a swap-bot swap. For this, the instructions were to make a garland 2 feet or longer with decorated paper fish. Mine did not turn out as I first envisioned at all (in part due to the size of my fish, in part because my partner liked pink, which is unfamiliar territory for me) but I still like it. What I envisioned was using my sewing machine to do the outlines, but after I did the drawings, I realized there was NO way I could pull off that level of detail– at least not in the time I had left to complete the project. Instead, I used a micron pen to sketch and crosshatch the details. I apologize for the quality of the photos– I took them at night before packaging the garland to send.







Postdated: Scripture Cards

One of the April crafts I did was for a swap on Swap-Bot. The swap called for three scripture cards, each with a different verse– a personal favorite from the sender, a personal favorite of the recipient, and one specific to challenges in the recipient’s life. To be quite honest, the swap did require decorations, but was more along the lines of nice paper, doodles, and stickers, but I wanted to go all out.

Scripture Card front

I first covered index cards with gesso, then smeared them with acrylic paint. My recipient liked bright colors, especially orange, blue, and burgundy, so I did my best to incorporate those colors. I was unsure how to complete them at first, but in the midst of my decoupaging crafts (Easter Eggs and Matchboxes) it occurred to me that I could use tissue paper to add more layers.  I am not certain I am happy with the handwritten verses, but I was running out of time to brainstorm.

Scripture Cards back


Postdated: Easter Crafts

I don’t normally get into holiday crafts, but I saw Alisa Burke’s post about her lovely canvas wrapped easter eggs, and wanted to try my own. Over my students’ spring break, I needed a craft, and as the canvas might have been a little much (just for materials and time, if nothing else) so I improvised. I did the same project with two 4th grade students, and they each made a handful of great looking eggs. The two I finished were done alongside my students, and the last one I ran out of time to decorate. I may do more eggs later, holiday or not!

Three Eggs

This one is my favorite:

Green Egg

How did I make them? Pretty simple.

1. Take a plastic egg, and decoupage with tissue paper and white glue.

2. When sufficiently covered, decoupage other colors if needed.

3. Glue decorations such as rhinestones, buttons, sequins, flowers, etc.

4. Let dry.

Tada! Pretty Easter egg!


Stamp Carving: Leaf

Yesterday (or rather, the day before yesterday, as I’m sure any moment I’ll see the tinges of daylight) I had the privilege of watching Samantha Kira’s tuesday vlog. This week, she focused on stamp carving, by request of one of her fans. It really got me inspired. I was supposed to meet up with a friend for artistic stuff tonight, but I completely flaked out and forgot AND left my phone downstairs. Thankfully, we didn’t have a specific time set even, just a general plan. And we’ve known each other long enough not to be offended. However, I was still bummed that I missed out, because I’ve been wanting to do art, but rather unmotivated beyond very basic background prep.  So (after being lazy for a few more hours) I plunked myself down, and decided I was doing a stamp.

Unlike miss Samantha Kira, I don’t have that cool rubber stuff. Nor did I buy the rubber erasers at the dollar store (this time…). What I have is this odd cork looking stuff. My carving did not go so smoothly as hers. And I still made mistakes (especially since I was  free-handing it and kinda changed things as I went). Nonetheless, here is the end result.

Yes. that is an envelope I tested it on. To be specific, an unopened envelope containing the pay stubs I never look at until months later due to the modern marvels of direct deposit and online banking. It was the nearest thing I had handy.

Also, I worked on a journal page, which is nearly done. I will post that later/tomorrow.