New toys (literally!)

I am making good progress with the second celebration dress, I can’t show you what I am working on yet but the toile fitted well (work in progress picture with cutting out old bed sheet below).

Sarah's dress toile

I spent most of yesterday cutting out and zigzagging the edges of the fabric with these lovely colour threads. Fingers crossed the dress fits tomorrow after I have tacked all the pieces together 🙂

Sarah's dress 7

I have got some new toys, some to help with fittings for these types of garments and others for smaller ones so I am very pleased to introduce you to Millie the Mannequin!

Milly mannequin

I have wanted one for a long time and now that my lovely son Jake is not around to help me with fitting Steampunk attire it has become a necessity so she arrived on Friday and is settling into the sewing room nicely.

I will have to pad her out a bit in the chest area, I ordered a size 16/18 version from Amazon but she has a much smaller bust than me so I will sort that with an old bra and some wadding. I am very excited to use her for my Steampunk creations later in the year.

My other toys are for my ever growing collection of Barbie couture. I wanted to buy some new dolls and I needed some for work as well for a session we are doing on diversity. Barbie have now got a far more diverse range of dolls in different body sizes, skin colours and hair colours so I now have a few additions to my family, to avoid confusion I have given them all different names as we can’t have everyone being called Barbie!

I have also got some new photo backgrounds, I can’t find any of the ones that people use for their Gene Marshall dolls to buy, so I have just got some nice photos from the internet and printed them.I think they look a lot prettier than the black background.

First of all there is Alexa, she is one of the curvy body size dolls and she has fab hair. This dress I made for her out of an old skirt, I added beads to the bodice but all of the embroidery was already on the skirt and it is lined. I think the colour of the dress really suits her hair.

Barbie - Alexa 1

Barbie - Alexa 2

Barbie - Alexa 3

Next is Aisha, she is a petite doll so apologies that the dress she is wearing is not a very good fit. She is a lot shorter and has a much smaller bust than the standard Barbie dolls so I will need to adjust my patterns for her and make her something that fits better.

Barbie - Aisha 1

The dress is one that I have made for a birthday present and is just a simple wrap dress with a Velcro fastening.

Barbie - Aisha 2

Zuri is my last new purchase ( I chose the name as it means beautiful according to my search for African names on Google), she is standard size Barbie with gorgeous brown eyes and is wearing another one of the wrap dresses.

Barbie - Zuri 1

I have also finished the outfit for the friend who also uses Barbie in her teaching. This is Lily and her outfit comes from the latest set of patterns that I bought, this 1960s set. I have used the black suit pattern on the top right here. I did add a waistband rather than elastic as there was not much room to fold over the waist once it was gathered.

Barbie Patterns 2

Barbie - Lily 1

Barbie - Lily 2

I had a lot of trouble with the blouse, I had to re-make it in thinner fabric and am still not completely happy with the neckline but am very pleased with the jacket and the skirt.

Again all this is scrap fabric and the skirt has organza layered over the silk. The flower motif on the blouse is again from an old bra, I have lots of this lace left so am going to feature it in many more outfits.

Barbie - Lily 4

Barbie - Lily 3

I shall be spending the rest of the weekend tacking the celebration dress for a fitting tomorrow but hope to get a couple more Barbie outfits cut out this week as well as I need to get two more dresses made for presents in the next few weeks.

Barbie Patterns 1

I think I may go for the green dress in the picture above for one of them. The neckline does look super fiddly but I am up for the challenge!

I hope you are having a lovely creative weekend as well, take care, have a nice week ahead and thanks for visiting.

A few little finishes

I use the word little in the title literally as I have been making more Barbie couture. I forgot to take a photo of some of the dresses that I made as Christmas presents but I have so far made 5 different versions of this one in different fabrics and different skirt lengths and have another two in progress in cotton prints.

Barbie gowns 1

This is a really simple design and easy to get on and off the dolls as well so great for little fingers.To go with the purple skirted one I have made this beautiful coat, I love this although it was a bit of a sewing challenge with all of the tiny seams. I did also cover all of the seams with black ribbon to neaten them which took a long time.

Barbie purple coat 1

Barbie purple coat 2

Barbie purple coat 3

Barbie purple coat 4

I am making an outfit for my colleague as she has some dolls that she uses in her teaching so will try and make another one like this if I have enough fabric as I love the colours together. This is from an old silk bag,  the handle split and I couldn’t work out how to mend it so used the outer and lining fabric for the coat.

I have bought some more Barbie patterns from Gail’s Vintage Doll patterns on Etsy. They are great as they come as instant PDF patterns so easy to print off and very clear to use. I love the 1960s deigns here and think they look so sophisticated.

Barbie Patterns 1

Barbie Patterns 2

I bought some more ribbon and flowers for Barbie dresses when I was in Spain, there is some great haberdashery over there which is very cheap and I always add a bit to my stash when I visit.

Barbie notions

I sent the littlest great niece, Rosie, a rabbit for Christmas. This is again one of the Little Cotton Rabbits ones from Julie and I need to knit so many more of these as I love them, and all the other animals as well. This dress is my favourite of all the designs as I love the lacy hem, which is knitted sideways, and am very proud that I can knit this as it takes a bit of concentration.

Rosie's rabbit 1

Rosie's rabbit 2

I have also finished her sister, Ava’s,  dinosaur hat! I am very pleased with this as it was a combination of two patterns as I couldn’t find one I liked or could make in time.The basic beanie comes from the Drops site here  but I added a deep rib as I thought the curled brim of this pattern would not work as well with spikes. The spikes pattern is from here ,I used size 5 needles and knitted each spike separately and then stitched them together as I found it easier than increasing.

Ava's dino hat 2

I am now trying to sort out a plan for the rest of the year, there is so much I want to make and some things I have to prioritise like birthday gifts so I think I will start by scheduling everything.

At least I have a whole 11 months until next Christmas 🙂 so plenty of time for 4 quiet books, a whole wardrobe of Barbie things, at least 3 new Steampunk outfits, 12 Christmas ornaments and any other knitting and embroidery that takes my fancy. Problem is I keep seeing such lovely things on the internet!

I will be back next week to show you some of those, I post my ‘oh look how lovely these ideas are’ posts as much for me as for you as it is great to remind myself of all the loveliness that is out there for me to make.

Hope you have a nice week ahead, it is going to be quite a quiet one for me as I am mainly marking but that does give the chance to spend a couple of hours a day in the craft room as I am working from home a lot so that is nice. Take care and thanks for visiting.

The treasure trove that is Bombay Stores

A couple of days before Christmas Ellie came up for a short visit and we decided to go and do a bit of fabric shopping. I am trying not to buy things and to be good but I do need to make several new Steampunk outfits and I just do not have enough yardage of any one fabric to make all these so I thought I would treat myself to some for Christmas.

We are lucky enough to live near Bradford which has the most amazing Asian fabric shops, our favourite being the wonderful Bombay Stores which we have visited several times, notably to buy Amanda’s and Kerry’s wedding fabric. As well as fabric they have Asian wedding dresses so we always have a quick look at that section to marvel at the beauty of these. They also sell amazing bags, shoes and jewelry, this video gives you a quick overview of all of the fabulous things.

I adore the Asian dresses, if you are not familiar with them then I have found a couple of Pinterest pictures for you to admire. The colours and the embroidery, beads and crystal are amazing and there are so many different colours available as well as traditional red.

Asain wedding dress 1

Asain wedding dress 2

We were really lucky that day as they were having a sale – brocades at £1.25 a metre and satins, organza and lining fabric at 75p a metre! I had been planning just to buy a sari set to get enough fabric to make one outfit as these are very good value at between £20 and £30 depending on style but instead got a total of 35 metres of fabric plus silk and embellishments for under £40.It was indeed a very happy Christmas to me 🙂

I am taking my inspiration for the first outfit from a few sources. I love this outfit by Yaya Han, who is a cosplayer and model and wanted to make something peacock inspired. I have not bought this pattern as it a little too fitted for me so am planning to use one of my other Steampunk patterns.

Yaya Han Peacock costume

I have also found some lovely hats like this one below and I love the colours they have used so wanted to have a peacock hat as well.

Steampunk Hat 1

I also have a set, bought from Bombay Stores as a present by Amanda, to say thank you for making her wedding coat. I did not have time to make up before her wedding so it has been in the stash ever since . It has a fabric for a full length tunic with the most amazing embroidery as well as fabric for lining.

Raj fabric 2

I bought the turquoise fabric with lining and the turquoise and gold organza in the picture below intending to just use that but they all go so well together that I am going to use all of them for an outfit which will be a turquoise jacket embellished with embroidered motifs.

Raj fabric 3

I also bought some small pieces of silk in peacock colours as well as these gorgeous jewels to make peacock embellishments. I think they will made wonderful decorations for my purple top hat which I plan to wear with the outfit.

Raj fabric1

The other part of the haul was 10 metres of this amazing brocade plus some gold lining fabric.

Bombay stores gold

 

I was not certain which pattern I was going to use for that however my lovely Steampunk Seamstress Squadron Facebook sewing friends alerted me to a 50% off Simplicity pattern sale last night so I bought this coat pattern. I am think of making a fairly straight skirt to go with this coat as an evening outfit for the ball at Lincoln Asylum event in August.

simplicity-military-cosplay-costumes-pattern-8769-envelope-front

I also was lucky enough to have some fabric and a bag of very cute charms for Christmas from my brother Ben and sister-in-law Amanda, I love these patterns and am going to save the charm pack and fat eighths ones for a future quilt as I think the autumn colours are gorgeous. One of my retirement plans is to make lots of quilts for different seasons for my bed.

Christmas preseent fabric 1

Christmas preseent fabric 2

I have lots of things that I have made over the past couple of months that I have not posted about yet and some other plans for evening making as the outfits will have to be weekend work, which thankfully I have so many more of this term! I have just finished knitting a little hat for my great-niece Ava, now to knit some dinosaur spikes to go on it.

I hope you are all having a fun weekend with lots of nice crafting or other things planned. Thanks as always for visiting my blog, I have just upgraded my WordPress subscription to get rid of all of the adverts as they were becoming very irritating so hopefully you will all enjoy your visits even more now.

Take care and I will see you all soon.

Things that you never knew existed

The internet is amazing isn’t it? All the wonderful things you can find out about. I am old enough to remember life without it and the wonder of all of these web sites and blogs that people have made that I so enjoy.

While I was searching for inspiration for my 1940s costume earlier in the year I came across a blog where someone was making their own costumes, but for dolls. At first I thought that it was a Barbie but she looked different and that is how I discovered the Gene Marshall dolls range.

These dolls are larger than Barbie and designed for adult collectors and there is a whole world out there of people making costumes and accessories based on fashion from the 40s, 50s and 60s. There are some amazing outfits being created and some very talented people making them.

One of the first sites I found was The Couture Touch with amazing outfits such as this one. There are some lovely hat ideas on here and some tutorials.Picture from Couture Touch website.

Gene Marshall madra_lord_1940s

That led me to Daveland’s site, he does official photography for the amazing Sandra Stillwell creations pictured here and all of these beautiful pictures made me want to know more about these miniature fashions. All pictures from his website.

This one is amazing with the beautiful embroidery and beading on it.

Gene Marshall doll 1

Gene Marshall doll 4

This dress would be quite easy to make from the pattern I used for the black and gold gowns in my last post and I have a sleeve option in one of the other patterns. Since I am trying to use up stash it would have to be the purple chiffon that I used in the cocktail dress I made previously but I have quite a lot of suitable black material.

Gene Marshall doll 3

I am not sure if I poses the tailoring skills for this one, look at the tiny buttons! I just love the details in this outfit, it is exquisite.

Sandra Stillwell produces fashion collections every year based on original designs and the dresses are not only beautifully made but amazingly photographed as well, all pictures from her website.

Gene Marshall doll 8

Since making some fab felt flowers orange and pink is one of my new favourite colour combinations.

Gene Marshall doll 7

Gene Marshall doll 6

Gene Marshall doll 5

These flowery ones remind me a lot of Liberty fabrics which of course I love, definitely a lot of Dior New Look happening here.

I don’t know if I will ever be able to afford one of the dolls as they are mainly only available from the US and are about £70 but for the meantime I can be inspired on a smaller scale for Barbie.

I just never knew any of this existed and find it fascinating, I loved playing with my Barbies when I was younger and have really enjoyed making all of the clothes for my cousins so am going to do some more both for them and some for me to keep.

Gene Marshall doll 2

I realised when choosing the pictures for this post that I have scraps of this fabric in the picture above in another colourway.

Wedding jacket

This is the silk that I made my sister in law Amanda’s wedding jacket from 4 years ago and she very kindly let me keep the scraps. I am thinking a bodice made from this would look lovely with a black velvet skirt. I might even be able to make a bolero as in the first outfit above.

All very exciting stuff and thanks inventors of the internet for access to all this wonder!

I will be back next week with, hopefully, pictures of the completed rabbit for Rosie, I have all constituent parts, just need a stuffing and sewing together session which will possibly happen this weekend.

Have a good week ahead, take care and thanks for visiting.

 

How to make a fabric teacup … should you ever need one!

I am having a very lovely and very productive weekend. The weather has been brilliant, which is great for all my friends who are at an event this weekend and we have been having a major sort of of all of Jake’s things.

He leaves for Japan in 3 weeks 🙂 so he has been getting rid of things he no longer needs as hopefully, he will love it and be able to stay for a while.We were very inspired by Ellen’s work on the kitchen last week so lots of things have been re-homed.

I have finished the tea party hat and am so pleased with it! It is exactly what I wanted and it looks so cute 🙂

Tea party hat 7

I did a quick bit of embroidery this week on some of the vintage linen I used to make the tablecloth jacket and taped that to some card to make a little sign.

Tea party hat 5

 

Tea party hat 11

The donut is probably a little small in scale but I love the way it looks and any bigger would have obscured the teacup.

Tea party hat 6

I love this little purple cake! I have a whole packet of these little ribbon roses that I bought from Spain and am planning to use some for Barbie dresses.

Tea party hat 2

Tea party hat 1

I found the little spoons from this supplier on Etsy and they are the perfect size.

Tea party hat 3

Tea party hat 10

Ironically it probably took as long to make as a new jacket would have but it was very peaceful sewing of an evening and I am so please with how all of the felt cakes turned out.It is attached to the hat by a combination of double sided foam tape and pins and seems secure. All I need now is a miniature bottle of gin (aka TEA) to go on the front.

I could not find any actual tutorials of how to make a teacup so thought it might be useful to do one here, partly to remind myself as I have plans for another teacup hat for later in the season. The doily is the one I had previously stiffened with Powertex and painted. It is more purple than it looks in this picture.

Making a tea cup1

I started with an Evian bottle and cut both top and bottom with a craft knife. I chose this bottle specifically as it had a nice rounded shape for both cup and saucer.I taped up the bottle to give it a little more stability. I cut the teacup part open for ease of sewing.

 

The patterns I made from the plastic pieces, adding extra for seaming. I cut a layer of thin wadding from these. I then put double sided tape all over the plastic so that I could stick wadding to it.

 

I fussy cut the floral fabric as I wanted to have one of the roses showing on the cup.

 

I sewed the inner fabric first to the wadding with the tea cup still open, then sewed on the outer and stitched it together. I cut a small rose motif out and used it for the cup base.

 

The saucer was done the same way with wadding stuck on first. I could not easily attach the cup to the base due to the curve of the saucer so Ellen came to the rescue with her glue gun. I am definitely going to get one of those as they are so useful for Steampunk creations.

The handle was just a piece of fabric with wadding and a short piece of garden wire to give it shape. It was quite easy to just sew that to the side of the cup. A little bit of lace from stash gives it a final elegant touch and voila, one fabric teacup!

Tea party hat 4

This is what I love about Steampunk, the creativity and the problem solving, I have seen lots of wonderful teacup hats and am so glad I now know how to make one.

I am continuing with felt flowers this afternoon but with a little twist as I am combining them with Liberty fabric. My intention is to make some pouches with them as decoration which I think may sell well at Yarndale.

I have not had much chance to make stock for that yet so will have to get cracking. I have another two weeks before the doctorate is finished and then there will be lots more time for crafting, hurrah!

I hope you are all having a lovely weekend whatever you are doing. Take care and thanks for visiting.

Happy World Embroidery Day!

To be honest I didn’t know it was World Embroidery Day today until one of the textile companies I subscribe to e-mailed me about it but it is, so many happy stitching returns to you all.

I was just about to start some new embroidery this evening so that is fortuitous. I have a new project that I will share with you in a bit. If you want to know more about World Embroidery Day you can find out more here. I particularly like the part of this description that says…

‘To embroider is a peaceful occupation. It can be traditional made from a common
remembrance, drawn designs, from a pattern, or from your own imagination. You embroider for joy, beauty, decoration and for the creation of identity.’ 

I am sure that all of us who embroider share those sentiments. The lovely Karen from ‘Did You Make That’ has recently taken up embroidery and talks about the different emotions different crafts give us in this post here. I love all of my crafts for different reasons, some can bring frustration as well as joy (the black velvet jacket that never was) but mostly they bring me peace and sanity in a frantic world.

I have been doing a little bit of crafting over the last few days, mainly as respite care from the increasingly frantic work on the doctorate which is due in exactly 2 months from today!

We have had some more people leave work under our latest voluntary redundancy scheme including my very best friend.We have worked together for 15 years and shared wonderful times together. I am very, very happy for them all as they  are off to enjoy retirement or adventures travelling the world but I am very sad to see them go so I made a couple of pouches as gifts for special friends.

Liberty star bag 1

Liberty star bag 2

Liberty star bag 3

These are from some of the blocks I made last year which have been waiting to be turned into something special and details of how to make the bags can be found in this tutorial here. The beautiful lace zips come from Buddly Crafts and I shall be ordering a little restock very soon.

Liberty block bag 1

Liberty block bag 2

The embroidery is part of a new hat for the Steampunk Asylum event in Lincoln over August Bank Holiday. I had contemplated making a new jacket but with the focus needed on the doctorate and a few minor household issues (one involving an expensive boiler repair!) decided that I needed something that would not add any stress.

So I am wearing the tablecloth jacket again but I am making a tea party hat to go with it. I had done some planning for this a while ago for another hat that I have not yet created but am well on the way with it.I loved wearing it last year with the sewing themed hat and it deserves more outings.

Steampunk event Alison 5

I will devote a whole post to the creation of the hat when it is completed but meanwhile here is a sneak preview of a very cute felt cupcake that will be part of the tea party. I have really enjoyed making these, as with the felt flowers it is a joy to work with all the lovely colours of felt and add little beads and embellishments. I used this tutorial to help me and found lots of different ideas and videos for all types of felt food.

Felt cake 1

Felt cake 2

In other exciting news with the help of my wonderful children we repainted the kitchen at the weekend and my daughter very enthusiastically Marie Kondoed the contents meaning I have far less clutter. I was very good and let lots of things go.

We also had a surprise visit from a herd of cows in the back lane. They were being escorted from a farm up the road when they made an unexpected right turn. This picture was taken as they were being escorted off the premises which is why is is a bit blurry. This is why I love living in Marsden, there is never a dull moment 🙂

Cows 1

Well I will love you and leave you and get on with some more of the hat, the embroidery is for a little sign that will say ‘everything stops for tea’ for the front. Take care, thanks for visiting and have a happy week whether you are embroidering or not.

 

Doing our bit for the war effort

We had a brilliant time at Clumber. Sadly the weather was not kind to us on Friday or Saturday, resulting in a very damp day of set up and for those who were in the field displays and Ellie and her team, a very wet first day and not many public visiting.

We were fine in the Parsonage and so were very busy on Saturday. Luckily Sunday was lovely and sunny and there were lots of people there enjoying the displays and the music entertainment.Due to the nice weather we expected to be less busy on Sunday but had visitors all day.

Clumber display 12

Clumber display 2

Clumber display 1

We very much enjoyed playing our new re-enactment roles of Margaret and Ann from the WI. It was very lovely to be able to sit and drink tea and chat to people in the beautiful surroundings of the Parsonage.

The really lovely thing about the event as Kerry said was that unlike medieval where we are giving people lots of information people were sharing their stories with us, their memories of rationing and the sewing and mending that their mums and grannies did and sometimes some very moving stories of their families during the war.

It was so interesting to hear all about their stories and to meet lots of different people. I didn’t get chance to see any of the events in the field during the day as we were quite far away from that part but we had a really nice chat to lots of the re-enactors on Saturday night at the beer tent and made a new friend who was doing a food rationing display.

Clumber display 5

Dawn (Mrs Mac) had a brilliant display and it was amazing to see how little food the actual weekly ration was, especially the bacon!

Clumber display 3

Clumber display 7

I love bacon and easily eat four times that in a week.We also loved the cardboard wedding cake which lifted off to reveal a small sponge underneath.

Clumber display 6

Clumber display 9

We had two tables, one for clothes rationing and one for the Make and Mend leaflets and there were some very good reactions to my ‘what will you spend your twenty coupons on?’ activity with a list of what things cost in coupons such as a raincoat for 9 coupons and underwear 2 coupons each.

Clumber display 26

Clumber display 25

Clumber display 24

I also had lots of my vintage textiles displayed and the transformed shirt as well as the knitting patterns. We were lucky to find some lovely vintage cups to have tea out of!

Clumber display 23

Clumber display 22

I am very glad that I took the crochet lace and pegs which were a last minute idea as I had lots of leaflets and they made a great display on the fireplace. I have also made a new set of marigold flowers for my hat which you can see at the front on the table.

Clumber display 20

Clumber display 19

Clumber display 18

Clumber display 17

Clumber display 16

Clumber display 21

Clumber display 15

Clumber display 14

Clumber display 13

Here I am demonstrating the use of the darning mushroom.The visitors were all very complimentary about the jacket and no-one thought it was made out of tablecloths. I am very inspired to make something else now, maybe a summer blouse.

Clumber event 7

I do have some other pictures of the event which I will share with you later, I am going to be away for the next three weeks, in Spain and at a conference so I will see you all when I return. I am really looking forward to some sun and to lots and lots of sleep! It has been a very busy few weeks but everything has been done now so when I come back things will be much quieter.

Take care and thanks for visiting.