Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Sewing Granny

Just to clarify: I would have and will welcome grandchildren of either gender to our family! However, I do admit to the joy of sewing for girls. So far, it's been blankies and pillows, but soon I will be able to make them cute little summer dresses and accessories! I started this past week with some little totes/beds for their baby dolls. Here they are:

Such pretty fabrics! They were given to me by a dear friend.
A good stiff interfacing keeps the baskets in shape.

Little pillows and blankets are included, of course.

I also made some cuddly flannel pillow cases for their reading corner.
The package is in the mail, and I look forward to their reaction...

Friday, April 05, 2013

Step One: Victorianize

I started the change from cheerful normal Hobbit dress to steampunked Hobbit cook by taking away the colourful elements, sobering up the look to give it the Victorian style that usually underlies steampunk costumes.


1. Replace the yellow blouse with a white one - fortunately, a style that I have in my closet.

2. Replace the coloured apron with a black and white striped one - new cotton fabric purchased for this purpose, sewn yesterday.

3. Cover the coloured trim on the bodice with a black velvet ribbon - from my stash, just barely the right length, but it works! Hand sewn over the existing trim so it can be removed should I want the original look back. Also replace blue cord lacing with black leather band - existing in my collection of stuff.

I think I will hike the apron up on both sides to achieve the layered effect I've seen on other steampunk skirts.

I don't think the dress itself needs more detail - the accessories will add enough busyness.

I'm pleased with the changed look so far - amazing how much difference trim makes!

Next step: accessorize. Today's task - sewing a white, lace-trimmed mob cap.
I took a picture of my Hobbit dress to document its original look before revamping it. Now I can start!


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Sewing Progress Report I continued working on my world map quilt until shortly before my vacation. I paused in the middle of row 6 (of 13), somewhere in northern Africa, so the blocks are not quite halfway done. During vacation, I had time to hand-quilt my white vintage quilt - it's not finished, but the rest can be done without a frame. Upon coming back home, I had my hands full with daily tasks and church service music, so the only sewing I did was one quick lavender sachet for a friend's birthday. This holiday weekend is busy with music, and though no family members are coming to visit, we've invited friends over for coffee and cake on Sunday afternoon. Cooking, baking and keeping everything neat will have top priority. After that, I can get back to creative work, though not on my magnum opus. I will be spending the coming month putting my lecture for the Tolkien Seminar together - a comparison of the narrative function of music in the BBC and German radio plays. I will also be revamping a costume for a friend's birthday party, so my sewing and crafting time will be needed for that. Perhaps I should follow my favourite costume maker's example and write a list of what I need to make:
Change dress: replace blue cord lacing with black; hand sew black velvet trim on top of existing coloured trim (so I can take it off if I want the original look back). Apron: sew black/white striped fabric (already purchased). Cap: sew white fabric and lace (from stash), decorate (feather and brass owl button, perhaps, or goggles made of metal sieves). Ammo belt: cut faux leather, sew elastic to hold corks in place. Tool belt: add loops to existing belt, customize tools by using wood and/or copper self-adhesive foil. Blouse: I plan to use a ruffled long-sleeved white blouse I already have. Boots: My high-heeled laced black leather ankle boots will be fine, probably topped with something like spats - the faux fur hobbit foot toppers I've used over bare feet in sandals. Chains with old keys and/or other details: as time and material allow.
Before I start on the changes, I want to take a "before" picture of the hobbit dress... Then, steampunk hobbit cook, here I come!

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

The fabric scrapbook I made four years ago to collect memories of Tolkien events is full. I could take out some of the pages and replace them with new ones for this year, but I know that people love to page through past memories. I decided to make a new book for the events coming up in this and the following years. Since I don't repeat myself unless absolutely necessary, this one is different: blue instead of green, and it uses the Earendil heraldic emblem designed by Tolkien, machine-embroidered by a friend of mine. I will hand-embroider Tolkien's initials logo on the back. I am using the "Road goes ever on" poem for the inside cover again, since that accompanies me throughout my life. I've printed it (mirrored) onto transfer paper and will iron it on white fabric. Inside I'm using key rings to hold the loose-leaf pages. That allows me to add new ones as long as the book has space for them.

Monday, May 07, 2012

I've been trying out various methods and materials for embroidering the book titles - not very successfully, so far. Machine embroidery is not always even, and I don't want to use the one style of letters that my sewing machine has for everything, so I've limited it to the "CD" covers, so far. I haven't hand embroidered in a long time, so trials with threads and needles and marking pens are taking up more time than I wish they would. I'm feeling discouraged - is there any chance of finishing this project by August? Is it more sensible to face reality and quit, or should I not give up too soon? I don't know.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

I've finished the music CDs for my bookshelf quilt, four different cases with one "CD" in each:

Friday, April 20, 2012

Today's work on the project: buying fabrics* and interfacings. Washing the fabrics. Maybe ironing them if they dry quickly, but that may happen in the morning. G'night! *I needed black fabrics, slightly patterned/marbled so as not to be boring (I don't sew with solids unless for some special reason), because so many of my Tolkien books have black covers.