Getting creative with crochet

I had a very lovely crafting time with Ellie last weekend. When we were at the Whitby Steampunk event we did a lovely free workshop with Abigail from Curiously Contrary and each made a brooch using a textile hardener medium called Powertex.

Whitby 4

Ellie and I bought a starter kit and we had our first go at this new craft.You can make some beautiful things with it, I love this bronze lace bowl in this video.

Powertex 3

The medium needs to be painted onto textiles, it is PVA glue based and is quite sticky so we were advised to pour it onto a paper plate and use fingers or a brush to work it into the textile.

Powertex crafting 5

As you know I have a lovely collection of vintage crochet and as Abigail had used some of this to decorate the items she had on her stall at Whitby we decided to use those as our starting point. Ellie wanted to decorate some notebooks that she had bought and I wanted to make a new Steampunk hat for an event later in the year.

Powertex crafting 1

Powertex crafting 2

Powertex crafting 4

Once you have soaked your textile it takes about an hour to dry, you can speed this up with a hairdryer and then you can paint it.It is very therapeutic to do and we had a great time.

Powertex crafting 6

You can use powder pigments mixed with varnish or acrylic paints.We painted the pieces the following day when they had fully hardened. Here they are at the drying stage.

Powertex crafting 8

Powertex crafting 7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can then use metallic highlights either in acrylic or powders to add sparkle to your design. Ellie completed two notebooks and a scrapbook, it is amazing how they go from being a dull brown which is the Powertex colour we had to looking so fantastic and colourful.

Powertex 1

 

Powertex 2

 

I am planning to add a little fabric tea cup to the lovely silver doily that will be on top of my hat for an, ‘everything stops for tea’, hat. The little crochet flowers will be around the side of the hat and I have ordered some more flower crowns from Ebay which I will take apart to give me some lovely blooms for the hat as well.

Powertex 4

Powertex 5

Powertex 6

Powertex 7

I found some inspiration for my tea cup on Pinterest, these lovely hats have been made by Play Things who did have an Etsy shop but is not trading at the moment. I love the creativity of these little hats and intend to use some tea motif fabric that I have had in my stash for a long time for the cup and saucer.

tea cup hat 2jpg

tea cup hat

I have had a productive couple of weeks in other areas as well, I went on a wonderful writing retreat with work and finished another 15,000 words of my doctorate and have knitted two Barbie jumpers, not yet sewn together but that is one of my tasks for tomorrow along with finishing off a knitted Barbie coat.

I hope that you have had a good couple of weeks, we have had beautiful weather here as well up until today so things have been very lovely. Hopefully next week I will be able to show you some of the completed Barbie garments.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

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Victorian Splendour

We had a very lovely time at Whitby Steampunk last weekend. The weather was good, a touch windy on Saturday so we were literally hanging onto our hats, at an event where everyone wears very fine hats no-one wanted theirs to end up in the sea 😦

The only bad thing in the whole weekend was that at some point on Sunday afternoon I lost my camera. Ellie and James very kindly retraced our steps all the way back up to the Pavillion on the cliff to see if they could find it but it was nowhere to be seen. I had taken lots of pictures of costume as well. Luckily James and Ellie took many of the same pictures of us and the scenery so I do have some to share with you thanks to them.

Whitby 1

Whitby 2

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Whitby 6

Whitby is a beautiful old seaside town, famous for being the place where the explorer Captain Cook worked and for being the setting for part of the Bram Stoker Dracula novel.

So I decided on a vampire hunter theme for Saturday’s outfit, I have already shown you then holy water bottle and I decorated my hat with crosses and a mini bible and had another cross and stake in my belt.You can’t see the black skirt very well here but it worked really well with the outfit and I also decorated a cheap umbrella with the same lace as the rest of the outfit.

Whitby 12

Whitby 13

The red coat is an adaptation of one I bought some years ago for medieval re-enactment and I shortened it and cut back the sleeves and added the lace.We spent a lot of time at the market which was brilliant, the best Steampunk market we have visited and lots of gin tasting and a really interesting workshop which I will post about later.

Whitby 14

Whitby 17

It was lovely and warm and I wore the other coat I have in purple on the Sunday with my pirate hat and purple skirt. I am going to adapt this one in the same way as the large fold back sleeves are lovely but do get in the way a bit! I think it was probably when I was sorting out the sleeves that I lost the camera.

Whitby 3

We also visited a costume exhibition by a company who make stage costumes, this gorgeous Victorian morning dress in black silk was one of my favourite pieces but the silk and jewelled Marahajah costume was also stunning and James and Kerry loved the owl!

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Whitby 11

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Whitby 8

Ellie’s Worth dress, which I have previously posted about that she made from a pair of curtains, looked fantastic and she got lots of people stopping her to take pictures as we wandered around town.She is so creative to have made the whole thing without a pattern, she is going to make a hat to go with it for the Lincoln event later in the summer.

We found a lovely gin shop with the most gorgeous display of pink gins in the window and a fantastic tea room, the Monk’s Haven, which served gluten free scones so had a fab afternoon tea both days which made Ellie and I very happy 🙂

Whitby 15

Whitby 16

A really brilliant weekend, I just love wandering round and looking at all the costumes and seeing the amazing creativity. There are lots more pictures on the Whitby Steampunk Facebook  page here

It still feels slightly strange to be at an event all dressed up and not to have to do anything specific. I think that is part of why we all love it so much as we can just wander around, eat ice cream or drink tea and gin when we want to and generally get all the fun of dressing up without any of the rules of re-enactment. We doing really love doing that as well but at Steampunk events we don’t have to hide in the tent when it is cold and wet and have sneaky cups of tea!

I am busy knitting for Barbie at the moment. I have made the shrug but cannot show you that yet as she has nothing to wear it with. I have started a jumper as well from the old pattern book.I do like knitting such small things, I finished the back of the jumper in an evening 🙂

I am really looking forward to the week ahead, I am on a writing retreat with work and so am going to be spending four days here at Gladstone’s Library working on my doctorate. I went a few years ago and not only is it lovely to have peace and quiet to write but the food is wonderful so it is like staying at a luxury hotel as well.

Gladstones museum

So I shall be lovely and relaxed when I come home and hopefully will have written lots as well!There will be very little crafting done this week as I intend to spend the evenings in the lovely local pub with my colleagues which will be very nice, we rarely get time at work to talk so am looking forward to catching up with some of my old team as well.

Hope that you have a good week ahead, take care and thanks for visiting.

Back to Blighty with a bump and the giveaway winner

I hope that you all had a great festive season, I got back yesterday in pretty rough weather, there was lots of turbulence and the plane was really rocking coming down but we were only slightly delayed.

I have had a fab time and have more pictures to show you later, I have put a few of my favourites below but have really just popped in to tell you that the winner of my 11th blogaversary giveaway is Kay. I have e-mailed her to let her know but thanks so much to everyone who has commented, liked and followed this blog and sorry that I can’t make you all winners!

The weather has been pretty dreadful today with howling gales and we are forecast snow at the end of the week, oh joy! I am consoling myself by looking at my lovely beach pictures. This one is on the first day when we went down to the beach for coffee and a walk and the sunlight was just so sparkly on the water.

spain beach

We had our usual picnic lunch on New Year’s Day and I even got a little sunburnt. This yacht was out again on a very calm sea.I am sure I took pictures of the same one last year.

spain beach 2

Later in the holiday we went down the coast a bit for lunch and a walk to one of the rocky beaches, we took the kids here when they were younger and Jacob loved playing on this little island. It was a cloudier day with a magnificent sky and the waves were crashing on the rocks.

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spain beach 4

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spain beach 5

I just love the sea in all weathers and even had a little paddle on New Year’s Day, there were a few people in the sea swimming then as well and some surfers at the rocky beach.

I had a very relaxing time, doing lots of reading, very little cooking, mainly living on delicious cheeses and soup. They even had a little Christmas selection pack of some of my favourite ones in miniature which made a lovely cheeseboard.

spain cheese

I also did a couple of puzzles, this one I bought last time I went as it is of a view that Ellie and I saw when we went to the Lake District last June, a painting of Derwentwater. Lots of pieces of sky to fit in!

spain puzzle 1

There was very little crafting done so I have nothing to show you, I am starting to put together my latest Steampunk outfit for Whitby in a few weeks. I am doing a pirate outfit for one day with my purple hat from last year and a vampire hunter outfit for the other day as both seemed appropriate themes for the venue.

The vampire hunter outfit will be a modification of a beautiful red wool evening coat that I have had for years, bought originally for re-enactment. I am taking inspiration from one of my favourite films, Van Helsing with the gorgeous Kate Beckinsale and this jacket though my coat is a lot longer as this will be February in the UK so warmth will be a priority. There will also be a top hat of course so I have been searching for inspiration for that.

vampire hunter outfit

Back to work tomorrow so it will be next weekend before anything serious can be done on that but the top hat will be started tonight.

I hope that you all have a good week ahead, take care and thanks for visiting.

 

Steampunks in Space – return from the Delta Quadrant

We had a lovely time last week at Steampunks in Space at the National Space Centre in Leicester. As always there were fabulous costumes and Captain Janeway was ably assisted by her first officer Ellen and companion captain from Serenity, James.

Steampunks in Space 18

Steampunks in Space 2

Ellen’s costume was brilliant, she made the bolero and hat herself and it all looked so good together. She now has an extensive wardrobe of pieces that she can combine in different ways like the corsets, leggings and bustle. The phaser is from one of her University fancy dress outfits.

Steampunks in Space 1

Steampunks in Space 3

Steampunks in Space 4

My hat was decorated with some little model ships and some control panel pictures, pictures taken in the toilet again as the light was good there!

Steampunks in Space 5

This year they also had some costumes made with a space theme by various members of the Seamstress Squadron which were on display, such talented people!

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Steampunks in Space 13

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Steampunks in Space 17

The tie fighter hat and Death Star costume below was the overall winner of the costume competition along with her Steam Trooper companion. Such creativity!

Steampunks in Space 20

Not only were there the great costumes to admire but also all the brilliant stuff at the Space Centre, we didn’t do any of this last year meaning to go back but ran out of time so never did.

There were some great interactive activities, designed for kids which we really loved like the mining activity where you had to control a bucket with levers to load rocks and this chair which again was lever controlled.

Steampunks in Space 11Steampunks in Space 10

We are both really concentrating on the display screen here as it was really difficult to control.

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Steampunks in Space 9

We also really enjoyed seeing what we look like under infra – red, Ellen is the one with the really cold nose! Picture courtesy of James.

Steampunks in Space 19

I remember the first moon landings and many years ago we went and visited the Space Centre in Florida as part of a fantastic US holiday so I have always been really interested in this, particularly the human stories behind it. I have read biographies of both astronauts and control crew and loved the Hidden Figures movie. I am waiting for First Man to come out on DVD so I can watch that.

I am still working on embroidering stockings, hopefully they will be all completed this week and then I have a little bit of frantic machining to do to get everything together. Where does the time go, I am sure last time I looked it was only October!

I hope that you have all had a good week, I am looking forward to the last couple of weeks of teaching and then being on leave, and going to Spain, it will be so good to see my Mum as I haven’t been since July.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Marsden Magic

Sadly I have to report that the black velvet jacket got abandoned on Thursday, I was already having trouble with the bodice fitting, the seams kept slipping as I was stitching but the final crunch came when I realised I had cut down the sleeves too small again!

I have so much trouble with fitting, everything was far too big when I first cut it out and I thought I had trimmed just enough off but it was not to be so I now have a bag of large velvet scraps that I will do something with at some point.Next time I attempt a jacket I am going to do a toile first and get the fitting right before I cut!

I was disappointed but at least I had the lovely red skirt and my old velvet jacket to wear. Ellie came up for a few days and I was saying to her that evening that what I really wanted was to find a charity shop jacket that I could adorn, preferably a man’s dinner suit but they were so hard to find.

We went for a little walk and a bit of charity shop browsing the following afternoon and a miracle occurred as one of the charity shops had not one but ten brand new men’s dinner suits on sale and one of the ones in my size was a beautiful shawl collared one, with the collar made of black satin. It fitted really well apart from the sleeves being too long and the whole suit was only £10 🙂

Dinner jacket 1

A few hours of adding lace yesterday and I now have a beautifully decorated jacket for next weekend, without all the stress of sewing black velvet! I am very happy and relieved. I have also put lace on the cuffs and pockets.

Dinner jacket 2

Dinner jacket 4

Dinner jacket 3

The little red insert in the pocket is a cut off from altering the waistband on the gorgeous skirt I bought some time ago, I love the style of these and will probably end up with one in every colour!

Steampunk red skirt

Ellie also found some boots for herself in another charity shop which she was really pleased with having been on an unsuccessful shopping trip on the way here to a huge shopping complex where she trailed round every shop unsuccessfully. Marsden truly is a wonderful place!

My theme for the Steampunks in Space event is Star Trek and I am taking inspiration from Kathryn Janeway, the captain of Voyager, with my outfit.

Captain Janeway

We have some comm badges that we bought from Etsy and I have some tiny space ships to decorate my red hat and hopefully some printouts of the control screens.Ellie has made a lovely bolero jacket and still has her phaser from a previous outfit so we are ready to beam aboard and go where no man has gone before! Photos of all the outfits to follow plus all the other amazing stuff, we were so in awe last year.

I have also been making more delicious bread, I made an olive version as well this weekend, I really could just live on this, it is wonderful.

Nov bread baking

We had Christmas bauble making part two on Friday, at a friend’s house and there were lots of people there, I think in total about 12 baubles got made and everyone enjoyed themselves so that was great. Only a couple of photos due to lack of light and being busy but don’t these two look lovely?

Nov baubles at Janes 1

Nov baubles at Janes 2

Nov baubles at Janes 3

After next weekend I must crack on with the Christmas stockings and gifts, as it will be only a month to go, every year I think I give myself lots of time to do things and then it all evaporates!

At least I now have a jacket to wear to Whitby Steampunk in February as well so will just concentrate on making some capes. I have the capelet/bustle from the black velvet cut out and that doesn’t have to fit so will put that together for an extra layer and the just embellish the red hat again.

Hope that you all have a good week ahead, take care and thanks for visiting.

Pattern hacking and pattern making

Things are progressing slowly with the Steampunk jacket but I am pleased with it all so far. I cut out the velvet without too much trauma or the house being covered in black velvet dust! I have just trimmed all of the pieces as usual I cut them much bigger and then had a garment for at least one and a half of me!

I should really have made a toile but I am short on time, one day I will get around to making a body form from a mannequin base as that would be really useful for fitting patterns onto before cutting.

I have hacked the pattern slightly and plan to do more hacking, in the initial stages what I did was lengthen the jacket as I want it to come to just about hip height. I will possibly not have it quite this long as I have added eight inches but it is easier to shorten than to lengthen!

Steampunk velvet jacket 1

Steampunk velvet jacket 2

I also want to attach the bustle to the jacket. It is not very obvious in the picture below but the bustle is tied around the waist under the jacket. I have already modified this and only cut two layers of ruffles due to not having enough fabric but I think that will be fine with the longer jacket. It may all go horribly wrong but I like experimenting.

McCalls Pattern 1

The Love to Sew Podcast had a great episode on pattern hacks and they have loads of ideas for adapting things from existing patterns.It was from there I got the idea of adding the tracing paper to the existing pattern pieces which makes it a lot easier to adjust.

Steampunk velvet jacket 3

My plan for this afternoon is to zig zag all of the pieces to stop it fraying and maybe even start the construction. It looks a fairly simple design, famous last words, but the initial fit piece went well together, I do have collar and buttonholes to look forward to though!

My very talented daughter Ellen has just finished her amazing piece for the Refashioners 2018 project. This year the theme was, ‘inspired by’, so she chose this gown by the House of Worth which is dated 1898 and is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Ellen - Worth dress 5

 

She tuned a pair of velvet curtains into this and did all of the pattern making herself, she is such a talented seamstress and so confident with design, these are pictures from her Facebook page and she has some pictures of the process on her Instagram here. 

Ellen - Worth dress 1

Ellen - Worth dress 2

Ellen - Worth dress 3

Ellen - Worth dress 4

I don’t know where she took the first two photos but I think she looks amazing and I am so proud of her 🙂 You can see lots of other refashioning at this Instagram page here

I do love all this creativity, long may it continue. I am also working hard on the second set of stockings, I am doing another five and am about half way through these, such relaxing stitching while watching Netflix, bliss.

I did my last Saturday teaching yesterday, no more until Feb so I get the whole weekend from now on to do what I like, what a lovely feeling 🙂

I hope that you have had a great weekend and have a good week ahead. We have a Wool and Wine bauble making evening here on Friday so I will get some pictures of the Christmas gorgeousness for you all.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

The second Steampunk jacket

Technically this is the third jacket I have made from a Steampunk pattern as Amanda’s wedding jacket a couple of years ago was from a Steampunk pattern but this is the second one for me.

I saw this pattern a while ago and thought it looked beautiful and it gives me a chance to wear more lovely lace! It is a McCalls Pattern M6770 and I bought it a while ago during one of the Jaycott’s pattern sales. Images from their web site.

McCalls Pattern 1

 

McCalls Pattern 2

My plan is to make the jacket out of some black crushed velvet that Ellie gave me a while ago. I already have one black jacket but it is a little too small over the bust so want something that does up as this will be used for events in November and Feb so it will be cold.

I met one of the Seamstress Squadron at Lincoln who had already made this and she was kind enough to let me take pictures and talk through the construction with me.

Steampunk event Costume 8

Steampunk event Costume 9

The bustle part is actually a separate piece that ties round the waist but I am planning to adapt the pattern to attach it to the jacket and make the front a little longer.I will also not have the corset fastenings on the back or the gathered part on the sleeves which will make construction easier.

I did the same sort of pattern hacking on the jacket I have just made and it worked out fine. I may not have enjoyed my school needlework lessons all those years ago due to a very stern teacher who shouted a lot but I did learn the basics of how patterns work and have the confidence to alter them.

I will then make the skirt out of some pink velvet that I bought many, many years ago for re-enactment, in time for the Feb event. I am planning to buy a red version of the purple skirt as illustrated below for the Nov event as I love it so much and it will go fabulously with my new hat.At some point I think I will also get the black one as well.

Steampunk red skirt

The plan is to cut this out next week before things get busy at work as the sizing is always the most difficult part. I have had a lot of inspiration and practical help from the Love to Sew podcast. They have an episode on tissue fitting which was really helpful so I am going to try doing that before cutting out.They also have a great one on pattern hacking if you want some ideas for adapting things.

Wish me luck as I hate sewing with velvet though I love the way it looks! It moves around so much when you sew it but am determined to use up stash rather than buying any new fabric in the spirit of sustainability and trying to use up the many yards in my sewing room before I relocate to Spain in a few years.

Will update you on the progress, take care and thanks for visiting.