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.

 

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Post doctoral bliss

Much as I enjoyed doing the doctorate I am glad that it is finished. I am just waiting to have my final examination which will probably be in about 6 weeks time. Meanwhile I have been really enjoying having lots and lots of free time to do creative things and have been making some more Barbie clothes as Christmas presents.

I have been inspired by some amazing sites that I actually found during my research for 1940s fashion so will post about those separately. I bought a pattern for these latest dresses from this Etsy seller , excellent value at only £2.76 for a digital download of all of these lovely 80s style fashions.

Barbie dress pattern

 

I have made four dresses so far, two using the pink dress pattern in the top right for inspiration, minus the bottom ruffle and extending the length of the dress.

Barbie gowns 7

Barbie gowns 6

All fabric came from stash, I think the black and gold ones were originally from Kerry as they look like sample from her dress fabric for medieval gowns. I did buy the little roses.

Barbie gowns 8

The pattern was a little fiddly due to trying to finish seams that were only and inch long but very quick to make and I really enjoyed going through the stash to find all the gorgeous fabrics as I don’t usually make things with silk and velvet.

Barbie gowns 9

Barbie gowns 10

I am hoping that developing my skills with Barbie patterns will help me with making clothes for myself as I need to get better at using patterns generally. I have been watching lots of sewing sites and the answer seems to be to make mock ups or toiles of each pattern for fit.

I used the bodice pattern from the blue dress on the top right of the pattern and altered the skirt to make this lovely little cocktail dress.

Barbie gowns 1

The skirt is actually two layers, silk and chiffon, so it looks really pretty close up. I have enough silk left to make the coat on the bottom row to go with it.

Barbie gowns 2

The final dress was another cocktail dress, using up some of the velvet that I abandoned last year after trying to make a jacket for me. I paired it with some black silk for the top and some lace from my stash which I stitched on then embellished. I am very pleased with this one and think it looks really elegant.

Barbie gowns 3

Barbie gowns 4

Barbie gowns 5

I have lots more ideas for gowns so am hoping to get at least four more made before Christmas. I am also knitting, just finishing off a Little Cotton Rabbits bunny at the moment for my youngest great-niece’s birthday at the end of the month and working on a doll’s blanket for the local school. It is lovely to just sit and watch Netflix and work on these projects in the evenings with the candles lit 🙂

I hope that you have all had a lovely weekend and are going to have a good week ahead. Term is in full swing so I may not get much done before next weekend when lovely Kerry comes up for a bit of sewing!

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.

Making do – the shirt transformation

I am well underway with all my lovely Make Do and Mend things for my display. I have not only been making things but also acquiring some really interesting things from Ebay. One of the lovely things about this period is that I can actually afford the real artifacts from the period, unlike medieval where they are all in museums or long gone.

I have so much to show you that I am splitting it up into several posts. This one is about one of the charity shop bargain shirts that I got for £1 that I have given a makeover. It did take me a little longer than the one hour they give them on the Sewing Bee but I really enjoyed the process and am very happy with the results.

MDaM -shirt 1

MDaM -shirt 13

I won’t actually wear this one as it is a little short for my taste but will do the same again with other finds as I loved the experimentation. I kept the collar as it was in the end but altered the buttons for some that had a more vintage feel, took in the sleeves and shortened them, added bust darts and shortened it, using the spare material for a cute frill.

I was going to use this piece of embroidered doily for a pocket and so I removed the pocket (thankfully very carefully), and cut it out of the doily but it did not look right so I just used some of the flower motifs for the pocket and collar. I also added some vintage lace to the sleeves.

MDaM -shirt 7

MDaM -shirt 8

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MDaM -shirt 10

MDaM -shirt 12

I was inspired by advice in the books that I had bought previously on Make do and Mend such as the one below on making new clothes out of worn ones.

MDaM -shirt 2

I have just finished reading the wonderful Stitching for Victory book as well which has lots of similar adverts for patterns and detail about all of the sewing during the war.This pattern uses very much the same idea as above and could be bought for 1 shilling from the Girl’s Own Paper.

MDaM - SfV book 1

They also had an advert for a pattern for lingerie, if you were lucky enough to get your hands on some parachute silk or old clothing that was suitable.

MDaM - SfV book 3

Stitching for Victory is such an amazing book that I will have to do a whole post about it, one of the best books I have ever read about stitching history, so much wonderful detail. It is currently available on Amazon for less than £3 so it is a real bargain as well. One of the very lovely things is that there are lots of quotes from the stitchers of the period, so often the makers’ voices get lost in museum exhibits and the history records so it is wonderful to have the words and pictures from all those wonderful people.

One of the other things that I am loving about this period is that I have so many techniques that I can use for my work. Medieval is wonderful but often I have not been able to do something as it does not fit the period whereas there are less restrictions with this so I am really enjoying that freedom, very much like Steampunk although it is lovely to do the research on the history as well and find authentic things for the period.

I wanted a banner for my table display and was trying to think of what I could do when I spotted an embroidery of ‘make do and mend’ on my craft room wall. It was one of Jenny of Elefantz’s designs that is waiting to be made up into something and it gave me the ideas to stitch the slogan onto something. I was looking for some vintage linen and came across this embroidered traycloth in my stash that made the perfect frame. I learnt to do chain stitch last year so embroidered the letters in the same colours as the original embroidery and am very pleased with it.

MDaM -banner 1

MDaM -banner 2

I am making a demonstration pair of slippers from some felt and scraps of Liberty for hexagons so I will show you those next time and I have just started making some gorgeous felt flowers.

I have a new hat that I ordered from Ebay that needed a little something. I remember seeing some 1940s brooches years ago on Hen House’s blog and thinking they were really lovely and I have come across lots of inspiration such as this diagram in the Stitching for Victory book so I am on with that at the moment.

MDaM - SfV book 5

I hope that you are all having a lovely creative time with whatever you are doing, take care and thanks for visiting.

Favourite colours

Although I love purple I am also really fond of turquoise and pink, my craft room is in these colours and I love how they look together.I realised when I was sorting out photos for this post that both my recent makes are in the same colours.

I have been very productive on the doctorate front with about 10,000 words written this week and I am aiming for a few more before I leave for Poland on Monday. I will then have three weeks not thinking about it at all which will be brilliant. Much as I am enjoying doing it I am spending a lot of time staring at the screen and am really looking forward to reading books and going for walks when in Spain, and of course seeing Krakow which looks stunning!

I finished this little basket as a birthday present for a friend’s not so little girl last weekend, she is 11 this year and I was really pleased to be able to get some matching nail polish and toe separators as I know that she loves painting her nails.This is the smallest version of the Friends of the One Hour basket pattern and is available via a link from this blog for just £4. I have made this pattern so many times now it is so versatile and I love it.

I have also finished another outfit for Barbie, well nearly, the dress is still pinned together and needs the Velcro adding but that will be done before I take it to Spain as a gift for one of my cousin’s daughters.

Barbie coat and dress 4

I used the leftover shirt fabric as before with some other scraps and the coat pattern comes from my old pattern book that I mentioned in my original Barbie clothes post.

Barbie coat and dress 1

Barbie coat and dress 2

The coat is a little big but I think it looks very snug and the yarn is lovely and soft. I have a turquoise shrug to go with the outfit as well and another few dresses in progress to go with a pink version of the coat as well.

Barbie coat and dress 3

Although I haven’t started on the WW2 make do and mend outfit I have had a charity shop bargain haul and came home with a jacket, two shirts, some trousers and a hat all for £5 which I was very pleased with. I also bought a bag and a pair of sandals for Spain for £1 each. This is an RSPCA clearance shop where everything is £1 but I don’t often go there as it is out of town but was in the area and was really pleased to get all of that.

I will take some before pictures of the items and then I need to get cracking on that when I return, I am fast running out of days to do everything so if anyone finds a knitting pattern for an extra day a week please send me a link 🙂

I am off to Sarah’s now as she is having a wool de-stash, I am going to be good and not try and buy anything but am just going for a bit of a catch up, there may be wine involved!

I will be back in three weeks, take care, have fun and thanks for visiting.