Sewn Hats Giveaway

As cool as it is to have a book of my own, I have to admit that I probably squealed even louder when my contributor copy of Sewn Hats arrived on my doorstep. There’s just something incredibly fun about seeing your name alongside those of some of your favorite sewing friends. It’s kind of like those old Mickey Rooney movies when all the kids got together to put on a show.

Carla Crim aka The Scientific Seamstress may just be the Kevin Bacon of the sewing world. Flip through the contributor list and I think you’ll be inclined to agree: Alexia Abegg, Bari J., Melissa Averinos, Lisa Carroccio, Joanna Figueroa, Shelly Figueroa, Linda & Scott Hansen, Karen LePage, Kathy Mack, Kaari Meng, Heather Niziolek, Jennifer Paganelli, Betz White,  Patty Young and many more.

But what’s really impressive are the hats.

A little closer look at p. 100:

My own Miss L was clearly the inspiration for this darling cloche, but I also have to tip my hat to the amazing Diva, my friend Lisa, who was the impetus for this project. (Those gorgeous spiderweb roses on the samples in the book are her creations — and the book includes instructions for making them yourself.)

Want a copy of your own? Just comment on this post and you’re entered to win! I’ll close comments and use Random.org to choose a winner on Thursday, Oct. 4. In the meantime, be sure to check out the other stops (and more chances to win a copy of the book) on the Sewn Hats blog tour:

9/4 –  Scientific Seamstress

9/5 –  ModKid Boutique

9/6 – French General

9/10 – Pink Chalk Studio

9/11 -  Lulu Bliss

9/12 – The Domestic Diva’s Disasters

9/13 – Green Bee Patterns

9/14 – Goosie Girl Boutique

9/17 – Melissa Lilac Lane

9/19 – One Girl Circus

9/20 – Tie Dyed Diva Designs

9/21 – Figgy’s Patterns

9/25 – Craftiness is not Optional

9/26 – Bari J.

9/27 – Confessions of a Craft Addict

9/28 – Sis Boom

10/1 – Sew Mama Sew

10/2 – Aesthetic Nest

10/3 – Blue Nickel Studios

10/4 – Betz White

10/8 – Yummy Goods

10/10-  Wiley Craft


Dragoncon 2012: The End

Welcome to the ongoing geeky adventures of the Craft Addict! Yes, more Dragoncon sewing but I think you’ll like this one.

My lovely friend Meredith made a passing comment on the Book of Faces one day about sewing a Star Wars pin-up dress with some sheets she’d bought. The shop had recently gotten in some awesome Star Wars fabric so of course I had to use that comment as inspiration for my own geeky dress.

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If you’re going to be at a convention in Atlanta in the summer, a halter dress is pretty much going to be one of the most comfortable things you can wear. I am beyond happy with how this dress turned out, even though certain parts of it made me want to cuss.

The dress is a modified version of Simplicity 2401. I omitted the straps and lengthened the top of the bodice pieces to make a continuous strap around the back of the neck. I also added darts on the bodice sides to improve the fit of the “cups.” But the biggest modification I made was one that could have been handled differently had I followed my own advice: Make a muslin.

To be fair, I did make a muslin of the bodice portion of the  dress. Where I went astray was in thinking I didn’t need to worry about the skirt. For some reason, I though the skirt was more of an A-line than it actually is — and that resulted in a too-tight dress that looked utterly awful on me.

Fortunately, I had just enough fabric left to cut a third panel for both the front and the back of the dress. After copious amounts of unsewing (including picking out serged seams), I inserted the panels, gathered the top of the skirt to the bodice and a new favorite dress was made. A petticoat underneath adds just the right amount of “oomph.”

And did I mention it has pockets?

I’ve had some random invisible zipper issues with this dress and still need to rip out this zipper and install a new one (which will make the fourth one). But the fit is perfect and it’s super comfortable, too. Not to mention super geeky.

My weekend wasn’t just about wearing cool costumes, though. I also spent a few hours as a panelist with the Costuming Track. Let me tell you, it was one of the most awesome experiences ever. I sat on four different panels: Fabrics & Embellishments, Practical Costuming, From 2D to 3D, and Pattern Drafting Basics. Some of the coolest, most talented people imaginable were seated on those panels and dorky Mary was right there with them. It was surreal! I mean, it’s not every day that you get to hang out with RJ Haddy of SyFy’s Face Off. Well, maybe you do but I don’t. And the room was so full for most of my panels. I wasn’t really paying attention (I was trying to make sure I stayed on topic!) but my awesome Honey did and he was impressed with the crowds.

So many people came up to me during the course of the weekend to tell me how much they enjoyed the panels or thank me for some bit of information I passed on. It just really blew me away. Honestly, I am so lucky to be able to do what I do and getting the chance to pass that along to other people is one of my favorite parts of my job.

Of course, bumping into Dean Cain at Starbucks and having him tell you the Supergirl costume you made your daughter is great is pretty cool, too.

Yep, Dragoncon was pretty awesome this year.


Dragoncon 2012 Part Deux

So, where were we? Dragoncon. Costumes. Geekery.

I pretty much had a plan for what costumes I was making for DC this year before last year’s con ended. And, as usual, that plan went right out the window. Blah blah blah procrastinationcakes. That wasn’t the only reason, but let’s run with it instead of getting bogged down with all the other boring crizzap.

You might have noticed that I’m kind of a big fan of Urban Threads. When the site unveiled its amazing Mechanica Aquatica designs a couple of months ago, I just knew I had to incorporate them into a DC costume. And thus the “Steampunk Mermaid” was born.

OK, she’s really not a mermaid but I wanted something that was very mermaid-y in feel. My character (if you will) is married to a man who runs aquatic adventures. Unfortunately, he’s been lost at sea since heading off on an expedition to find the lost city of Atlantis but I continue to dress as something of a walking advertisement for his business.

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Yes, another crummy phone pic. Some day I will get decent photos of this costume. Preferably a day when it’s not 92 freaking degrees outside with 80 percent humidity. Until then, we’ll all just have to deal.

There’s about six or seven hours of embroidery in this costume. Some of that was spent on designs that didn’t turn out so well. I’m still counting them. In addition to what you can see here, there also are two of the fish borders on the back of the skirt and an “embossed” compass rose on the purse. I’m also wearing a free-standing lace choker. Yep, all of it’s from UT.

The corset is a pattern by Truly Victorian and I love it beyond all reason. The printed fabric is an Asian quilting fabric by Quilt Gate. They’re actually fans but I flipped them upside down to look more like scales. Cool, eh? The shiny fabric is from a piece in my stash that I bought at Fabric World. I’m 100 percent certain it’s 100 percent synthetic but it was perfect for this costume. Because I omitted the busk in the corset, I used something like 8 or 10 yards of lacing in the back. It’s still a bit of a struggle to pull on and off but I really like the centered design on the front.

The skirt is a modified version of Butterick 4954. I added some fin-like details on the sides, a peplum in back and — my favorite touch — metallic copper pintucks on the lower portion of the skirt to mimic fish tails. Without all the embroideries and extras, I probably could have made the skirt in an hour or two. As is? Yeah, a lot longer.

To top it all off, I made a leather pirate hat fascinator. It’s my first time working with leather and I’m so lucky to have a friend who makes leather armor (among other things). Totally tapped into that wealth of knowledge, let me tell ya. (Thanks again, Stephen!)

I put together a Flea Market Purse from The New Handmade to go with, made with purple no-whale corduroy and lined with the same shiny fabric from the corset. Normally, I’d add pockets to the skirt but the design didn’t really lend itself to on-seam pockets so a purse it was.

 


The Return of Dragoncon

You know how a three-day weekend can totally throw off your days? I’m having one of those weeks only it’s compounded by being at Dragoncon for four days. I *think* it’s Wednesday but I certainly wouldn’t swear to it. And don’t bother asking me the date. Clueless.

But, oh, it was worth it.

For those who don’t know: Dragoncon is a four-day pop culture convention. If you’ve ever heard of Comic Con, it’s kind of similar, only it takes place in Atlanta — which means it’s close enough for us to attend and get our geek on.

This year was my most ambitious to date in terms of costumes. Now, wearing costumes isn’t mandatory — but it sure is fun. Except for the sweating part. And the people stepping on my train part. But other than that…it really just kind of adds to the experience, in a random sort of geeking out way.

Anyway.

Costumes. I made two new costumes for Miss L: Supergirl (which I’ve shared previously) and a Steampunk Alice in Wonderland, which was part of a themed set I did that included a costume for me (Queen of Hearts), my son (White Rabbit) and my son’s girlfriend (Mad Hatter). (See what I mean about ambitious?) I also made a Steampunk aquatic traveler costume for myself (but more about that later).

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Now, a themed costume group can be pretty cool but it sort of requires that whole “group” thing. What you see here is evidence that the four of us were, in fact, in the same place, at the same time, for I think about five minutes. The big kids were off doing their thing (as young adults are wont to do), but they at least hunted us down so we could get this picture before they changed into more comfortable street clothes. Miss L and I, however, remained in costume all day.

The Mad Hatter is wearing a high-backed underbust corset made from a pattern by Harlots & Angels. If you are a very experienced corset maker, you might like this pattern. I found it problematic, especially the part about 1/2″ boning. The boning channels in the back are much longer than standard cut bones and finding the right size was a challenge. I ended up swapping out 1/4″ (I had spring steel I could cut to length) and then had to cut off about 3″ of the top back because she is so petite.The skirt is actually the apron-and-bustle portion of Simplicity 1819 as shown on the pattern cover and diagram. Unfortunately, the pattern instructions don’t actually tell you how to make the skirt this way so I had to come up with the steps on my own. I didn’t like how the apron drooped so I added contrasting straps to improve the look. The mini top hat fascinator is a pattern from The Quilted Fish and actually recycled from my 2011 DC costume.

The White Rabbit is wearing a cravat I drafted (just love the Steampunk-y fabric!) and a vest made from Simplicity 2895. I wish you could see the clock face buttons — they are the perfect touch. The ears are cut and shaped leather that I painted and then hot glued to a metal headband. I bought fabric to make pants but never got around to making them.

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My Queen of Hearts includes the Laughing Moon underbust corset made without a busk. I embroidered a steampunk heart design from Urban Threads on the front. The fabric is a beautiful quilter’s tweed by Robert Kaufman. I drafted an easy elastic-waist A-line skirt (red stretch poplin from Joann) with a ruffled hem and made two drawstring channels on the front to add a little interest. Plus I really wanted to show off my Fluevog Babycakes! The crown is lace that was stiffened (thank you, Stiffy, for giving me a giggle every time I looked at the label), spray painted and then hot glued with gears and “gems.” The button down shirt is from Kohls maybe two or three years ago. The gun was made for a costume last year. No, I don’t know why I’m holding it upside down.

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My favorite of the bunch is easily Alice. Big surprise, eh? The peasant top is from my book, although I sized way down and added length because I knew the jumper was going over it. It’s sort of similar to another pattern in the book but I drafted a completely new bodice and skirt piece. (I’m thinking of posting a tutorial — any interest?) On the peek-a-boo underskirt, I stitched a Cheshire Cat design (also from Urban Threads). Some lace from my stash, suspender clip straps and a few well-chosen accessories brought the whole look together.

Once the weather cools off, I plan to take the kids out for a proper photo shoot. (The iPhone is certainly handy but indoor con pics are bleh.) I’m thinking it’ll make a great big piece of art for one of the walls in my studio, don’t you?


Costume Craziness

Another summer has flown by. What is up with that? I barely had a chance to blink and *poof* it was over.

Now that Miss L is back in school (second grade! Oh my gosh!), I’m working like a mad woman to finish up costumes for Dragon*Con. In my grand plans, I should have finished all of this back in May, before school ended. But noooooo. L had a growth spurt, I was busting my butt to lose weight, summer camp, procrastination, blah blah blah.

DC is in two weeks and I have finished one costume. But, oh, is it a winner.

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Meet Supergirl, Tiny Titans version. Super cute, right? I had so much fun — and occasional frustration — working on this costume.

My totally awesome costuming/designing friend Meredith gave me the spandex shopping list and also tips for attaching the cape. In the comic, Supergirl’s cape comes over her shoulders and attaches underneath the chest shield — not too practical for wearing. While I could have sewn the cape into the shoulder seams, I was considered a bit about the weight but moreso with having something that could present a strangulation hazard. Enter Meredith, who suggested attaching snaps inside the collar. Perfect!

I made bike shorts to match for her to wear underneath and the yellow tops of the boots are actually slipcovers to be more in line with the comic.

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I’m rather proud of the belt and buckle: interfaced spandex and a Badge-a-minit covered button. No lie. I think the entire belt-making process took 15 minutes.

One down, six more to go. Send caffeine.


We Love Summer Camp

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Today was the first day of Little Stitchers summer camp at Intown Quilters and I couldn’t be happier.

This is the first time I’ve offered a camp for kids younger than 11. All my other camps (and the camps done by another teacher) are aimed at older kids. Inevitably, we get calls about things younger kids can do and have to turn them away.

After the fun we had with Miss L’s birthday party, I started brainstorming a camp for younger kids. All the projects involve hand sewing and each project builds on the skills from the previous projects.

Obviously I had to sign up Miss L, who has been disappointed that she’s not old enough for my other camps. She and two other students arrived bright and early this morning for the first three-hour camp day.

And they loved it.

Miss L is showing off the nametag she stitched up this morning. (Isn’t that fabric so cool? It’s by Timeless Treasures and has some great school coordinates.)

It was awesome to watch the girls work, contentedly sewing and then grinning broadly as they finished.

I have the best job EVER.


At the Movies

Ahh, summertime. I love the lazy days of summer and have spent the past 10 days enjoying Miss L and our more relaxed schedule.

Today was a movie day, thanks to a 60 percent chance of rain. “Mirror, Mirror” finally made it to the $2 theater near us, so it was the perfect remedy to a rainy day.

It’s just an OK movie but the costumes! Oh, the costumes! The late Eiko Ishioka (who won an Academy Award for Bram Stoker’s Dracula) just blew me away with her over-the-top designs. The textures, the details, the colors — total eye candy. I also spied some familiar fabrics.

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Being a total fabric addict, I had to hop on Google to find pictures to back up my discovery: That’s quilting fabric! One dress was definitely from the Kaffe Collective and there was another featuring motifs from Pillow & Maxfield’s Gypsy Bandana Line. On closer look, I saw that Patty Young’s Andalucia was used for the skirt on the same costume.

My fabric geekiness knows no bounds.


Gnome Love

Have you ever bought a fabric knowing you needed to do something really cool with it, something a little beyond the routine sewing? This was my feeling about Gnomeville by Michael Miller. I can’t tell you how many times I fondled that bolt of fabric in the shop, trying to picture what it wanted to be. I eventually succumbed and bought 1 1/3 yards of it, thinking I’d make the On the Border skirt from my book.

A year later, I finally got around to making that skirt — and possibly one of the cutest outfits I’ve ever made.

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It’s a Little Girls, Big Style/Sewing ModKid Style outfit mashup. The skirt is a modified version of the No-Hem Skirt, cut wider, longer and with a hem. I had to change plans on the fly because I didn’t have enough width for the lower portion of the skirt. I made the skirt a little longer than I normally would to ensure Miss L gets extra wearability out of it.

The tee and leggings are both from Patty’s book. I changed things up a little from my previous takes on these pieces. I used some stretch lace from Riley Blake on the sleeves and cuffs (Sarah ordered some for the shop and I can already tell I need more). I have no idea where I bought the red-and-white stripe legging fabric but it has so little stretch that L could barely pull up the pants. Seriously. I’m going to have to find a different fabric and make another pair because these just don’t work. But they sure are cute for the picture. :)

I am so utterly tickled with how the tee turned out. It was one of those “in my head this seems cool” kind of things but you just never know until it all comes together. The neck ruffle is a 1 1/2″ bias cut strip of woven fabric (Michael Miller’s Mini Mikes). I gathered the top edge then basted it to the neckline. I then followed the directions for sewing, capturing the short end of the ruffle in the shoulder seams. FOE wraps around the neckline and I used a contrasting thread to stitch it down (perhaps because I was too lazy to walk across the room too look for red thread).

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The embroidery design is from SWAK Embroidery and I thought it was a good match for the whimsical feel of the skirt. I really need to wash the shirt to get the rest of the stabilizer out but I was too eager to have L try it on. I am happy with the results but the design did not stitch out like the breakdown that came with the embroidery file so some of the colors are not where I’d originally planned. I finished it off with a reverse coverstitch hem, using red thread in the looper to add a pop of color and design. It’s only taken four years but I think I’m finally getting the hang of that machine.

Ever since I helped Mer with her costume, I’ve really been trying to make a concerted effort to use the plethora of tools at my disposal. I’m not in the habit of using either my coverstitch nor embroidery machine when I sew and it’s a shame because they both can really add something to the creations I make. I’ve definitely been happy with the results thus far and that really encourages me to keep it up.