Thursday, October 25, 2007

Craft Blog Gal

I made a new doll today. A friends daughter is turning four in a couple of weeks and I've been wanting to make a doll. Not wanting to reinvent the wheel, I looked here and here and here for some inspiration. There are so many things that I like about the dolls that these women make.
Hillary of Wee Wonderfuls always manages the best facial expressions. I think my doll is looking a little sleepy, not exactly what I was going for. Lori Marie of Pretty Little Things has such a way with unexpected details. I gave my girl some ruffle bloomers and flowers in her hair.
The striped legs totally remind me of the many girls of Emily of Black Apple. So what I have on my hands here is a craft-blog-fusion of a doll.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Geranium Fairy

Another day, another costume knocked out, hence, another post. This is my interpretation of this illustration of a Geranium Flower Fairy by Mary Cicely Barker. I used the Simplicity 3588 for the basic style of the dress. Obviously this was just a starting point because I added a lot to it. For the skirt I cut out to the pattern some shiny tulle-like fabric and the layered five large quilted petals over it. In the drawing she had little buds going around the waistline. I made about ten of these and stuffed little bells inside. I thought I would be able to find an easy way to do these buds, but they ended up being kinda tricky and involved a bit of hand sewing. By the time I was done with the buds and the petal details I really wanted to wrap this costume up. I almost didn't do the collar or the leaves on the shoulders. I took a break from it and did a little work on a quilt I have going. When I came back to the dress over the weekend, my enthusiasm for it was renewed. I'm really happy with the way the collar and sleeves look. I think they make it more "costumey". Like she really could be some little fairy walking out of the woods.

Again the wings were a concern for me on this costume. In the drawing, the wings are kinda greenish/pinkish/brown. I didn't know how I would capture that look easily with fabric. It was such a stroke of luck that I was browsing (very generous word) the silk dupioni at Joann's and they had this green/pink combo. I don't know what you call it when two colors are cross-woven like that, giving it a different color depending on how the light hits it. Best yet, it was on sale for 3.99 a yard. Perfect.

Really the best is that this is for such a special little girl. Maria is my biggest fan. She really loves the things I make and I think feels proud when she is wearing them. She is at my side for every stitch and decision I make. She loves to create and is always working in tandem with me on some project or another everyday. She is so fairy-like in her ways. She is not easy. She is far too interested in everything to be easy. She wants to know and do and talk about everything all day long. She is my shadow, but she is not like me. Or I don't think I was like her as a child. Because of that, she is so surprising to me. I love her to bits. I have a quilt that I will be starting soon and it is going to be for her. Oh, I'm getting ahead of myself. That's all I have for now.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

One down...three to go...

I'm trying to stay focused here and get these Halloween outfits done. Strawberry Flower Fairy is done. For this costume I used Simplicity 3854. This is an infant pattern for a bubble outfit. Betsy is pretty small so I gambled that she would fit an 18 month size. I think I might have used a different bodice from something else, but I don't remember now. Anyway, it is made from some red corduroy that I had left over from some back-to-school dresses. The seeds are this soft velvet that I sewed down with a green/yellow variegated thread.

After some trail and error I figured out how to make a collar that kinda looks like little leaves. I learned that a collar is not a straight piece of fabric wrapped around the neck. Instead, it needs to be cut out round, as if you are looking down from above. I know this may be "duh" to anyone who knows how to sew or has taken some classes, but I get kinda excited when I figure out how to do something new. The wings are quilted with two layers of batting for some stability and then buttoned onto the back. The wings took me some time decide how I wanted to do them. There are a lot of wing ideas out there involving heavy gauge wire, pantyhose and glitter glue. I was just a little nervous about moving out of my crafting comfort zone for some reason. In the end I like the consistency that the quilted wings have with the rest of the costume. I know that the work I'm putting into these is way over the top, and that the girls would be perfectly happy with many other costume options available in stores or even homemade. Nonetheless, I just like doing it. It makes me happy to cut fabric and see how it looks when I sew it back together. I like adding details like homemade bias tape to the inside waistline. Nobody will see that. But I like it. I like picking it up and thinking that it would look as pretty worn inside out as it does right side out.

The Geranium Fairy costume is very close to being done, but I have no photos yet. Patrick opted for a store bought skeleton despite my urging that I could do a really cool reverse applique homemade version for him. Actually, it is great that he didn't listen to me. I never would have gotten it done. And for the baby? I could not even care a speck if she is wearing a costume.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Let's talk October

Thinking of October brings to mind cool days and Halloween costumes. I've been working on costumes for about a week now and I'm very pleased with how things are going. Not done yet. Not by a long shot. I love doing costumes because It is an opportunity to try new things, venture away from patterns and instructions without too much worry about how well the finished project is executed. It's a kids costume, who cares if it goes a little wonky here or there. I know some people might contend that this is a holiday for the children, and that they should be allowed to create the costumes themselves. Yeah, well what fun is that for me? Just kidding. I'm sure we will get to that some day. The first year I made costumes for the girls was 2005. Quilted butterfly wings. Made with a black shimmery velvet and silky dots machine sewn on. They came out real cute. I've always wanted to find a way to hang these in their room, like over their beds or something.

Last year I did these. The dress was good in that it was one of the first times I have sewn clothing from a pattern. I also learned that I don't enjoy working with a lot of synthetic materials.

This year the girls and I were talking about costumes like princess, ballerina, fairies and such. I was trying to talk them into flowers, but they weren't biting. Then I started saying how about Flower Fairies. They became a little more interested and asked what these might look like. I had no idea. Only minutes later I sit down at my computer to surf some of my favorite craft blogs and hop onto Wee Wonderfuls. She had just put up this post of a flower fairy by Cicely Mary Barker. What a great inspiration she always is. I ordered a this book and now I'm working from some of the illustrations to design the Halloween costumes. Betsy is going to be Strawberry Fairy and Maria is going to be Geranium Fairy. Here is a sneak peek.

And a final thought about October. If it is supposed to be a month of cooler temperatures, why were we doing this today?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

flower fabric

Betsy came home from preschool with a great project the other day. She had smashed flowers onto a small piece of fabric. The colors in the leaves and flowers left great designs on the fabric. Maria and I were very eager to try this craft for ourselves. The supplies were simple and readily available. Scraps of white fabric, flowers and leaves gathered from the yard and vases, and an assortment of hammers.

Cut a scrap of fabric and spread out on a hard surface like a pick nick table or cutting board. Lay flowers and leaves on fabric in a single layer.Cover leaves and flowers with another piece of fabric and start hitting with hammer. This is the spot where careful attention needs to be paid. If you have safety glasses for your kids, it would probably be a good idea to use them. In any case, you don't need to hit the flowers hard, just a lot. (I swear Betsy was having more fun than it looks like in this picture. She is just very tired when she gets home from school.) The juices come out and stain the fabric both above and below the flowers. Some flowers work better than other, I guess it just takes some trial and error. But really, even the errors look pretty cool. This was a great use for the last straggling flowers around the yard, but the cut flowers from the store also were great because they were real juicy.Once we were done pounding, we carefully pulled off all the flower pulp and let them dry in the sun. I'm not so sure how colorfast this is, but I guess probably about as much as a grass stain. I think it would wear off if put through the wash a couple of times. I ironed them with a hot dry iron thinking that might set the colors a bit. I want to make these into a quilted table runner. I think that would be pretty and special for the girls.

I'm working on some pretty major Halloween costumes. I will certainly be able to share some pictures soon.

O.K that's all for crafty. Now for cutie.