Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Louise Belcher costume

Hello! I'm so excited to be blogging about this costume! I started this SO LONG ago; I think I was originally going to wear it to one of last year's comic conventions (?) but then that didn't happen and I set it aside. Uni and life got in the side of finishing it until I needed a costume to wear to the WARD Officials Halloween Quiz Night. So I pulled out my sewing machine again and tried to fit in lots of sewing in between study and work; and this time I finished it! Yay!

If you're not familiar with Bob's Burgers (which, by the way, you should totally be watching!) I am the youngest child, Louise Belcher. One of the awesome things about the quiz night was that my friend Beks and I managed to accidentally co-ordinate costumes! Beks came as oldest child Tina so we were sisters for the night! 

 I drafted the pattern for the dress myself. The skirt is a circle skirt pattern that I have used multiple times but I had to do the bodice and sleeves from scratch since I have lost my old bodice pattern >____<

 I am not totally happy with the fit of the bodice. I think it needs some darts to make it fit a little neater, and the neckline didn't turn out as flat as I would have liked. But it fits and looks fairly correct, so overall I'm happy with the dress! The fabric I used is a cotton drill so it has a nice weight, but I think this dress would also have been good in a knit. I just went with the fabric that came in the right colour!

For the hat (really the star of this costume!) I found this video by Zoe H very helpful. I did draft a pattern to fit my own head, so if you have a 55cm circumference noggin, then feel free to download it and make your own! Just click on the preview picture below to go to the download page on my Google Drive. This pattern is designed to fit onto two A3 sheets of paper, so make sure you print it out using the tiling option for .pdf files!

This patterns is the exact one I made for myself, so it has only been tested by me - there may be errors! Let me know if anything seems really wrong, and check out the video by Zoe H for a step by step on how to sew it together.

I also made myself a little Kuchi Kopi handbag. I used polar fleece for the majority of the bag; I originally brought some green sparkly vinyl for it - which I still think would be great! But I needed to finish the bag asap, so I decided to use the fabric which I could sew with my machine.

The bow and facial features are made from felt and were all hot glued on - again, time was of the essence with this project! The handle is ribbon and the loops attaching it to the bag are bias tape. I'm planning on turning this handbag into a plushie now and making the handbag again with the vinyl. If you'd like to make a Kuchi Kopie Bag (or plushie!) you can download the pattern I used by clicking on the preview picture below and downloading the .pdf from my Google Drive. This pattern is designed to be printed onto one A3 sheet of paper, but you could totally print it bigger or smaller depending on what size bag you prefer!
To make the bag you need to ...
1. Cut everything out from your desired fabrics.
2. Sew together the arms (I didn't stuff them because my fleece fabric was quite thick enough). I sewed mine right sides together, leaving the straight edge open, and then turned them right sides out. I also top-stitched around them to give them more structure.
3. Glue or sew on all the facial features to one body piece.
4. For the bow, I cut the bow shape from felt, wrapped the bow middle piece around the middle (probably kinda self-explanatory, right? :P), and then glued it onto the bow strap
5. I also cut a rectangle in the back body piece (i.e. the one with nothing glued to it!) and hemmed the edges down so it wouldn't fray. I sewed a flap of polar fleece over the top of this hole to allow access but also to make it easy to sew up for when I make this bag a plushie, but adding a zip would be a better idea for a long term handbag.
6. Cut two short lengths of ribbon or bias tape and hold in half to make the strap loops of the bag. Place them on the right side of the back piece, pointing inwards.
7. Lay the arms on the right side of the back piece, pointing inwards.
8. Place the right side of the front piece down onto the back piece. 
9. Sew around the body shape, you don't have to leave a gap because you can use the bag hole to turn it right sides out.
10. Top-stitch around the entire bag.
11. Attach ribbon or chain to the bag loops for your strap.

I haven't quite got the Kuchi Kopi expression down pat, but we still had a lot of fun together! 

- Lisa xx

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Kitschy celebrity devotional candles

Hello! Goodness me, it's been a long time since I've done a blog post! I tell you what, I kinda thought postgrad studies would be a little harder than undergrad but they are *so much harder*! My butt is getting kicked regularly by this grad dip. So I haven't been doing much crafting, except for trying to churn out a granny square every now and then for the never ending blanket WIP, but my beautiful friend Clare recently had her engagement party and I simply couldn't resist making something for her. Clare's party was kitschy themed and included a long list of things to inspire costumes. Since I couldn't make it to the party, I decided to make some kitschy candles inspired by some of the celebrities on her list and by her love of religious iconography.

I found these great jars at the craft store, along with a couple of packs of rhinestones and some mini fairy wands. I had soy wax and wicks in my craft stash so it was easy enough to whip up some candles to go in the jars. I coloured the wax with some crayons that I ground up really small; the wax looked quite vibrant in the pot but when it cooled it turned out pastel, which I actually really like. The green wax is scented with vanilla, the pink is strawberry, and the purple is lavender.

For the images, I found photos of the celebrities I wanted online and printed them out onto regular paper. Then I covered them in a layer of mod podge and let them dry. Once dry, I cut them into oval shapes and used more mod podge to glue them to the jars. Each jar has two celebrities on it, so either way they are facing you can see an image! 

Then I used a hot glue gun to attach the rhinestones, the tops of the fairy wands, pom-poms, and wooden mustache shapes (the last two I had in my stash!).

They were a lot of fun to make, and it was interesting experimenting with a style a little out of my regular wheelhouse. And I still have rhinestones left! So I guess more bedazzling isn't off the cards for the future .... ~___^

- Lisa xx

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Jake the Dog Plastic Bag Holder

Hello! Do you feel like practical things are made so much better with just a touch of impracticality? Like, I have a rice spoon. Boring. I have a rice spoon that is a pastel pink rabbit and its ears are the spoon scoop - excellent!! I decided recently that I really needed a plastic bag holder - and that it should totally look like Jake the Dog.

My Jake has a 65cm long torso and, including his arms and legs, is about 118cm long in total. He is only 14cm wide though; I can't decide if I like the skinny look best (because it kind of looks like he really has stretched) or if I should have made him wider.

To make Jake, I started off by cutting two wide strips of yellow fabric (15cm wide and 70cm long), four skinny strips (2cm wide and 35cm long), and one really long skinny piece (2cm wide and 72cm long).

Then I used a plate to round off both ends of the wide strips of fabric; this will be Jake's head and bottom.

In one of the wide strips, I cut two holes with a 10cm diameter. I didn't want to make a traditional plastic bag holder where the bags go in and out the top and bottom because I thought it would make Jake look a bit weird. This solution, to be honest, also looks a bit weird! So I guess it's up to you which weird you like best ~___^

I sew two of the four skinny strips in half and threaded them with about 27cm of elastic.

I folded up the raw ends and sewed them closed, which prevents the elastic from moving around and makes the next step slightly easier.

I pinned the elasticated strips in place around the holes and sewed the raw edges together. 

The result are these strange scrunchie looking openings. I think I could have made the elasticated strips wider, but these openings work well enough as is.

The next step was to make Jake's facial features. To make the ears I drew a square 5cm by 7cm and then curved off one of the short sides. I cut four of them, sewed them into pairs, and lightly stuffed them. I also made a tail, 4cm wide at the base and 1cm at the tip and 7cm long, which I sewed and stuffed the same way as the ears.

 Jake's eyes have two pieces each; the black circles are 3cm diameter and the white circles are 2.5cm. His nose is 1.5cm in diameter and his mouth is the same size, but cut in half to make a semi-circle. His eyes, nose, and mouth are all felt. To make the puffy thing that his nose sits on, I drew a circle eight cm in diameter and then turned it into a shallow horse-shoe shape. I cut out two pieces, seamed the raw edges leaving a small gap, turned it right way round, and stuffed it with polyfill. I sewed all of the facial pieces on by hand.

For the legs I used the two leftover skinny pieces; I just rounded off the ends, sewed them up, and turned them right way round to stuff them. I stuffed them pretty firmly, but left a large gap at the top to make them easier to sew to Jake's body.

The arms are made from the really long skinny piece of fabric. There is no need to round the edges because both ends are sewn into Jake's torso, but otherwise they are made the same way. I didn't take a photo of the next step (d'oh!) but all that is left to do is to pin the ears, arms, legs, and tail onto the torso and sew the torso together; you don't need to leave a gap because you can use the holes for the plastic bags as turning holes! Then you can turn Jake the right way around and - ta da!

Jake the Dog Plastic Bag Holder!

He managed to fit in our entire plastic bag hoard, and he really brightens up the laundry room, so I'm very glad I've made him!

- Lisa xx

Sunday, 17 July 2016

The Fluffy Rainbow Mohawk Hat

Hello! I have something to confess: I am terrible at taking photos of handmade gifts. I always seem to finish them at night or right before I'm meant to gift them and then I forget to take photos and then I end up taking the gift back to take a couple of quick snaps. Terrible form. I did the exact same thing with this hat, except luckily my lovely friend Cherry sent me these photos! On an honest to goodness wooden hat block! I want one.

But anyway, let's talk hats. Specifically fluffy rainbow mohawk hats! Omg, folks, I adore this hat. I made the base hat from Shiver in black; it's a really plush acrylic yarn which is very warm and very soft. Itchy hats = the worst, amiright?

I used a pattern from Oombawka Design for the base of the hat which I really like because it gives you lots of sizing options. I used the Adult Large size, but because my tension is very tight I did still have to add in a couple of extra rows. Shiver is an extra bulky yarn, and I used a 6mm hook. I could have gone bigger for the hook size, but I wanted to make sure I didn't have a gappy look for the base hat.

For the mohawk I used the instructions from Ashlee Marie; basically I crocheted a strip that runs from the front to back of the hat. I used trebles to make mine to ensure I would have enough space between stitches for the fringe, because I wanted to use a variety of chunky yarns! I used the black Shiver yarn for the mohawk base to ensure it would blend in with the hat.

I cut my colourful yarns into 20 cm/ 8 inch lengths and used three or four (depending on the chunkiness) for each piece of fringe. In progress it looked like a really cool caterpillar! I am not sure how many lengths I cut to make this; I just cut a bunch, looped them through, realised I need a lot more ... (repeat, repeat, repeat). I sewed the mohawk to the hat with the same black Shiver yarn, but in retrospect I think embroidery thread would be a lot easier! I didn't trim down the mohawk when I was finished because I liked how the slightly different lengths gave texture to the mohawk. Plus, I'd spent so long on it that the idea of taking scissors to it made me wanna cry a little! ~___^

I don't have a full list of the yarns I used for the mohawk because I am terrible about keeping labels on my stash, but here are the ones I do know!
  • Passioknit Electric Beat Jambi (90% acrylic, 10% wool): this is the cool multicoloured yarn! It has orange, grey, brown, blue, green, pink, and purple in it.
  • Moda Vera Jester in Turquoise and Lime (70% acrylic, 30% wool)
  • Lion Brand Yarns Hometown USA in Honolulu Pink (100% acrylic)
The ones I don't know included a thick and thin purple, a pink and purple wavy yarn, and a blue and green wavy yarn. As long as your yarns are chunky and colourful though, I don't think you can really go wrong! ^___^

- Lisa xx

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Terrarium Crafternoon

Hello! Making terrariums has been on my craft group's to-do list for a looong time - and this month we finally made them!

We ended up with 18 terrariums! (Two aren't pictured here because Boulder had to leave early, but don't worry, photos of her creations are below!) Most of our terrariums are open; you can decide for yourself if you think if they count as terrariums or not!

I loved this triangular vessel that Fran used for her terrarium; most of the plants in here are ones that I propagated, so it will be interesting to see how they look after growing a bit more!

Fran also made a garden within an Erlenmeyer flask! There is also a plastic skeleton inside, which makes it delightfully creepy

Miriam not only created the garden inside her terrarium, she also brought along a customised jar! Unfortunately it filled with condensation quite quickly, but you can kinda see one of the toy hippos that is enjoying life among the succulents.

Miriam's second terrarium features a very confused soldier discovering a dinosaur - due to the combination of plastic toys I brought along this was a common theme for our gardens!

Lara's terrarium is going to be a lush jungle when it grows some more! 

Rebecca's terrariums are both kinda creepy, with a skeleton and a Weeping Angel in each - aren't they great!?

Boulder's large terrarium has a TARDIS in it! I love the vessel she chose to use as well; it looks gorgeous.

You can also see her mini terrarium, with a LEGO Derby girl in it!

Dom's terrarium has an Ivysaur in it! I didn't realise that I didn't get close ups of all the terrariums, but Dom and Clara also created a fantastic terrarium with a Link figurine inside. They are totally convinced me that video game stores are a must before future terrarium creations.

I got this hanging glass orb as a Secret Santa gift last year so I was pleased to finally use it! It was quite difficult to plant in though, as the opening isn't very large which made getting the plants into position tricky. I added a little rock wall at the front to prevent soil and plants from escaping. Now I just need to add a hook somewhere in my home to hang it from!

This glass jar seems like it was just made to be a terrarium! I think deep vessel are definitely the way to go.

I think the next step is to get our group soldering our own terrarium vessels! :P 

- Lisa xx