At the convention I attended on the weekend they held a ‘Masquerade’, which they treat more as a costume party and disco than a ball with people wearing masks. The theme this year was Scrapyard Cathedral – clothing made of trash but with a gothic touch.
When considering what we throw out a lot of, my first thought was all the postage materials. In particular, these bags:
They often turn up with just one small parcel in them. Usually a parcel that has split open. The fabric is made up of woven plastic strips. A bag is about the size of a person. It put me in mind of burlap sack dresses or garbage bag gowns. So I cut the base out of one and put it on the duct tape dress form. A bit of pinching and pinning later I had this:
I wanted the ‘maximum load’ writing to go around the waist, covered by a belt, but this meant that the front of the bag didn’t quite go high enough to meet at the top so initially folded it so I had an off-the-shoulder design. Yet I also liked the idea of creating ‘straps’ by tying the plastic loops at the top of the bag with string. Though I wasn’t exactly sure how the top would go, I had a basic shape. I bought some polyprop and made the lining:
It sort of ended up with this neckline, which was easier to keep in place:
When I attached the lining I discovered a mistake with the way I’d cut the armhole into the bag. I considered making it strapless, cut across the top of the bust. But I’m no fan of strapless dresses so I cut the top off another bag, split it in half and pinned the pieces to the form so that the plastic loops matched the ones on the back. This allowed me to fit the bust better, too.
When I tried it on I found it very loose and bottom heavy, so I took in the darts some more and added a fringe to the front:
And I made these postage-themed accessories. A bangle and choker out of packing tape and stamps, and a clutch out of a bubble wrap posting bag:
It’s not very gothic – more Scrapyard than Cathedral – but it was a fun costume to make and wear. And dance in – though being essentially a plastic dress it was rather hot. By the end of the night the side seam had come apart on the non-zipper side, but this was unlikely to be a more-than-once use dress.
A few weeks ago Paul took me into a shop on Swanston Street in Melbourne that I had no idea existed, and almost wish I didn’t: Retrostar Vintage. It’s huge, apparently ‘the largest vintage clothing store in Australia’.
I tried on a few things, including a velvet jacket since I’d seen on Pinterest that velvet was making a comeback and I’ve always liked a bit of velvety elegance. It was one of the fashions of the 90s I really loved. The jacket fit perfectly so I bought it:
I have to say, though. The 90s are ‘retro’. They’re not long enough ago to qualify as ‘vintage’. I’m not THAT old.
The jacket had one big down side: the lining was literally falling apart. I decided I’d have it re-lined. I chose a beautiful royal blue satin in my much-culled fabric stash.
After making the two costumes I felt a bit bolder in my sewing ambitions, so I decided to try lining it myself. I removed the old lining – which more a matter of cutting around the seams than unpicking as it had deteriorated so much it was practically evaporating before my eyes. I used it to make a pattern:
Then I noticed something a bit strange about the pockets:
One was a bit distorted, so I removed them both. After washing and brushing the coat, the old seam indentation lines on the jacket aren’t too obvious. They look like seam lines that are meant to be there. I’ve decided to leave the pockets off.
I cut out the new lining pieces:
Sewed them together:
Sewed the lining onto the jacked at the bottom and sides, then hand stitched the collar and wrists. The hand stitching was much easier done on the old dress form:
And got Paul to take the usual headless model shots:
Lots of UFOs but nothing to blog about, so here’s a photo I found on my camera a while ago and have been saving for a moment like this:
It’s our presents for Christmas, wrapped in the paper I printed. Always nice to have coordinated wrapping!
Almost two years ago I wove a blanket out of a rag strip cut from an old piece of stretch velvet. Unfortunately, the fabric just wasn’t suitable for this treatment. After using it as a knee rug for two winters the weft was all loopy and the warp bunched up. I had another ball of the velvet rag strip sitting around waiting for me to think of a use for it, too.
During the workroom tidy-up, I picked up that spare ball and, having just culled my knitting needles and wondered if it would be easier on my hands to knit with the huge rocket needles, decided to try knitting the rag strip.
I liked how it knit up. The velvet strips formed a nice cushy fabric. And there’s something endlessly amusing about working with big needles.
It was less work for my fingers, but a bit more work for the wrists. I found it most comfortable to tuck the right needle under my arm and do most of the movement with my left hand.
So I finished knitting the first ball, and un-wove the blanket to get more. Un-weaving is a LOT more fiddly than frogging. But un-weaving rag is easier than un-weaving yarn. Soon I had a second ball of velvet rag strip, and a few days later I had this:
It’s squishy and cosy and, though my inner knitting snob scoffs at something so simple and chunky, I love it.
Between the tidy-up of the craft boxes and the bag sort and cull it was only natural to get inspired to make a bag. I can’t remember what this style of bag is called. They were all over the internet a year or two ago. I’m calling it the Fold-Over Clutch.
It’s a simple lined pouch that, well, folds over.
I added a loop and used an offcut of the fabric to make a handle. The fabric was a sample square, probably from a book of upholstery fabric, which I picked up at Reverse Art Truck, the lining was leftovers and the clasp and ring were from my collection of salvaged bits and bobs.
I have another piece of sample fabric, in a tan-grey colour.
I’m thinking of making an oversized frame purse with light blue lining.
The machine knitting:
Not as much weaving compared to previous years, but a lot of time went into inkle weaving:
I also didn’t do as many home decorating projects as usual, just a bit of macrame and a garden seat:
But I did make a LOT of jewellery:
(Some of the jewellery I made during the year is missing, as I decided I didn’t like it and returned the parts to my jewellery-making box.)
I also made some paper beads:
And I had my usual bout of the refashioning bug in Spring:
During Blogtoberfest I revived a stamp making hobby and made lots of wrapping paper:
And, of course, I made Christmas cards:
I’m not sure I’ll bother with cards next year. I enjoyed making these, and that I used materials I already had, including some tracing paper I’d been hanging onto for over 20 years and the pages of a book I’d taken the cover from to make a handbag. People I’ve given them to in person have complimented me on them.
But it seems like nobody really sends Christmas cards any more, except to friends and family living far away. It’s interesting, because I have friends who send thank you, congratulations and get well soon cards but don’t send cards at Christmas. The ones they do send are so much more genuine and touching, because they’re not sent out of obligation.
And to be honest, I’m not that into Christmas. Which is why I make my cards fairly non-Christmassy. The end of the year card exchanging motivates me to make something (other than fattening baked goods) but maybe I’m better off putting that energy into something else. Something people will get more enjoyment out of.
Hmm. I’ll have to think more on that one.
This morning I discovered a pile of photos in the directory I keep pics for this blog in that hadn’t been resized and tweaked. I had a closer look and realised that I thought I’d posted something I actually hadn’t got around to before going interstate – the last batch of stamps and wrapping paper I’d made. There are quite a few pics, so I’ll start with the stamps.
Visits to Bunnings are always perilous, but going soon after a whole lot of printing had me seeing everything as potential stamp material. Like these self-adhesive anti-skid pads:
I’d seen a tutorial somewhere in which the artist stuck dots onto a rolling pin. I didn’t want to sacrifice our rolling pin and I’m always looking for ways to recycle things, and it turned out we had just the thing:
Used silicone and caulk applicator tubes. They come with their own handle, too:
One even provided this cone of solidified silicone, which may also become a stamp in the future:
These ones were self-aligning.
I got Paul to cut up some clear perspex supports got these, so each print can be matched to the last easily:
I also found these clear plastic sauce trays in a discount shop to use as stamp supports in future:
And dug out a woodgrain scraper tool I’ve had since I was a teenager:
My next printing session was definitely more on the experimental side. I’ll post the pics next.
The Shadowed Sun N. K. Jemesin
The Way of Shadows Brent Weeks
White Tiger Kylie Chan
Kevin McCloud's Principles of Home
My Cool Shed
The Final Empire Brandon Sanderson
Last of the Gaderene Mark Gatiss
The Deep Tom Taylor
Dead Ever After Charlaine Harris
Star Wars: Blood Ties Tom Taylor
Gamer's Rebellion George Ivanoff
Through Splintered Walls Kaaren Warren
Salt Mark Kurlansky
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Roald Dahl
The Path of Anger Antoine Rouaud
At Home Bill Bryson
Crandolin Anna Tambour
The Blade Itself Joe Abercrombie
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