Monday, July 25, 2016

Exciting Costume Patterns, Part 1: Simplicity

Costumers, rejoice! I know I'm a bit late on the draw with this pattern fangirling, but even if you've had a look at some of these patterns before, I'm positive you'll enjoy the "look-see" again.

So, it looks like the "big three" pattern companies have FINALLY caught on that sewists aren't necessarily interested in cheap, halloweenish patterns. When I started sewing back in 2007, historical sewists and cosplayers always groaned that great patterns were far and few between, and often had to resort to indie pattern companies for what they needed.

Let's start with Simplicity, which has always been my favorite of the three (shh, don't tell McCalls).


One of the best trends has been "print-on-demand" patterns, which are often just out-of-print patterns that are expensive and hard to find in good condition on eBay. Here are a few of my favorites, more are to be found on the Simplicity website (click the pics to be taken to the web page)!

New patterns 

Apart from offering print-on-demand patterns, Simplicity also has some great new patterns. Again, here are my favorites- more to be found on the site! 

This is a redux of an older pattern, but it's a much nicer design. 

I'm pretty sure view B is meant to be Rey's Jakku costume from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It also just has a generally awesome fantasy/sci-fi feel, so I think it's a great pattern for costumers to play with. 

First of all, ZELDA DOES NOT WIELD A SWORD. Unless she's the Clockwork Princess, in which case the model dress is the wrong color. In any case, this pattern excites me. Not only does it provide the best base EVER for a Zelda costume, it also includes patterns for her armor and crown! So exciting! Adjustments are needed to replicate the exact design, but other than that, it's a great starting point. 

Not wild about those pants, but that's one great steampunk jacket. 

Jane from Tarzan, anyone? Also, that's an interesting corset- a bit longer than most that are offered in costume patterns. Might be worth it just for that. 

Tune in next week for exciting new McCall's patterns! 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Tea Cosy, Anyone?

I've been an avid tea drinker for almost ten years, but my love for that singular nectar of the gods has intensified in the last few years. One of my friends has a tea cosy her English mum made her, and so of course I needed to make one for myself! 
Pattern: Here
Tutorial/photo reference: Here

The best part? For all but the batting, I used stash fabrics! Win-win! 

I haven't quilted in a bazillion years, so that was fun. Of course, with the polka dot design on my main fabric, it was rather easy. 

For the teapot design, I was inspired by this pin.

I also threw in a bit of text... embroidery design was from this lovely book. If you're in need of some lovely iron-on monogram and embroidery designs, I would recommend springing the $12 for it. 

The text of the design was inspired by Fanny Dashwood in the '95 Sense and Sensibility film. After an awkward moment at the table, Fanny tersely recommends a course of action: 


And there you have it, my new tea cosy! 
(And my purple cow creamer, which is the pride and joy of my china cabinet.)

 Have a tea cosy story to share? Would you like me to custom make you one? I'm all ears! 

Monday, July 11, 2016

My Refashioning Philosophy and Some Adventures Thereof

I have a rigid refashioning philosophy, especially after certain, uh, earlier attempts at it didn't go so well. My new philosophy is more along the lines of the Great Depression slogan, "Repair, reuse, make do, and don't throw anything away.So, when I have clothes that either don't fit the way I want them to or need repair, I bless my lucky stars that I have such a wonderful mum who taught me how to sew. 

Because really, if you're actively going out and buying clothes specifically to refashion (and likely won't wear them more than twice)... what's the whole point of refashioning? I thought it was born of a motive to be thrifty and economical, not to be solely a crafty challenge. Of course, if that's your cuppa tea, then by all means, go ahead- but consider the reasons why you're doing it in the first place. 

In any case, off my soap box. Now to my own refashions of late, which were all lovelies in my wardrobe that needed help. 

This one was six inches too long, which is rare for me because skirts generally tend to be on the shortish side. And if you're 5'8", that's generally a problem. This skirt was in that awkward limbo between the knees and ankles, but the print and potential shape were too cute to let it pass back into the cycle of thrift. 

Besides, just lookit that pattern. It's gorgeous. Kinda fairy-tale-ish, but it's missing toadstools. Add that to the fact that it's married to rayon, and you've got the perfect skirt, minus six inches. Now it's the perfect knee-length and ready to be worn for years to come! 

Next comes a skirt that was four inches too short. Hence, my typical problem. Luckily, this little number had a lining, so I was able to chop it off, add in a piece to make up for the deficiency, and reattach everything. It worked really well, and now I have another delightful print to re-refresh my wardrobe. 

Last comes a vintage-y Hawaii-Cabana-cutesy dress, that was in need of sleeves. Now, call me squeemish, but my shoulders are definitely on the broad side and look rather unfeminine peeking out of sleeveless dresses. So, I prefer a cap sleeve to no sleeve at all... but the great problem of this dress was, where to get fabric to make sleeves?

Solution: the dress had an ugly fabric belt attached! Pardon me to the folk that love them, but I can't stand them on my clothes. Fabric belts in the same material (or any material, really) don't do a thing for dresses. Unless they're huge silken pirate sashes, then they do a whole lot of good. In any case, I was able to craft some cap sleeves out of the sash, which enabled me to save this dress and not spend another penny! Always a good thing! 

Have you been doing any refashioning lately? Let me know in the comments! 

Monday, July 4, 2016

An Apron for Miss Marlene

I've been hankering for an apron for a long time, because I've had this lovely lemon fabric in my stash that I was dying to use. My mum surprised me with a pattern, so what was left but to sew it?  

It was a very enjoyable thing to sew- there were opportunities for "professional" techniques, like under-stitching and top-stitching and seam-binding. 

In order to decorate the bib, I found a lovely lattice lace in my stash (wa-hoo!) and stitched it down the middle. 

I am so addicted to over-sized pockets right now, so I was happy when I found that the pattern had them. I used some scalloped eyelet lace... from the stash. I love busting my stash, if you couldn't tell.  

And here it is finished! It's very durable and ready for long years of use. 

Check out them pockets. Mrs. Cleever worthy? 

Top-stitching, yes. 

It looks fantastic with my new cookbook binder- review coming soon!