Category: Crafts

Pumpkin Pie Poncho

I bought Candy Castle Pattern’s Pumpkin Pie Poncho pattern when it was first released. I finally made one today. It is a quick project. The pattern piece get cut up and isn’t really reusable. Saves paper if you are just making one, but requires extra printing or tracing if you are making multiples of the same size.

The pattern says it needs 1.25 yards of a 60″ wide lining fabric for a size 6. Problem is – I only had one yard of the flannel lining, and it was 42″. Looking at the pattern piece for the main body is not a rectangle – one side is a lot narrower than the other. Instead of folding the fabric in half and cutting two pieces along the folded line, I folded the fabric just enough the poncho body fit on the part with two layers. Cut one piece along the fold

Then unfold the fabric fold the *other* side down — there will be parts where there is only one layer of fabric – where the first piece was cut. Align the pattern piece so the widest section is away from the cut section. The narrow section of the pattern fits on the fabric with two layers. Cut the second poncho piece.

Unfold the fabric – there is a odd shaped bit diagonal from each poncho cutout – these can be used to cut the hood piece (or cowl). Voila – poncho lining from one yard of 42″ wide flannel.

When I started fitting the pieces together, I realized this could be done as a reversible poncho. Doing so required modifying the process a bit — the main piece fabric and lining were still aligned right sides together.

I used clips instead of pins, so Anya was able to ‘test’ the poncho as it was being constructed.

Serged along the bottom curve, turned right way about, and top stitched. The pocket fabric was still sandwiched between to attach it.

The top stitching runs right along the serged part, so it’s a little bit stiff and puffed up.

Then the fabric and lining along the arms were stitched separately – leaving the seams encased inside the ponch. The main fabric of the hood was lined up, right sides together, and serged. The lining fabric was the tricky bit – I was able to line it up, right sides together, and serge it for all but about 8″ – moving the still-opened hole along the seam being sewn.

I then turned the edges over and hand-stitched the remaining bit that is right along the front neckline. Anya doesn’t like hoods that wrap around her neck (although she’ll wear a scarf, go figure!), so I modified the hood to have a small gap along the front.

The process is a little more difficult, but we’ve got a pawprint poncho and a snow leopard one. There’s no pocket on the flannel side — mostly because I didn’t have enough fabric 🙂 But she keeps her arms on the inside and uses the snow leopard pocket.

 

Peppermint Swirl Dress – Almost Finished!

I had put the peppermint swirl dress on hold whilst making her lion costume; now that Halloween costumes are all sorted, I wanted to try assembling this thing. It seems quite intimidating – fourteen different slices in the skirt, all curves. And the strips look too long. I know the instructions said the whole thing would look off until you attached the first and last slices to make a whole circle … but holding a single strip up against my tiny person, I thought this might be an adult-sized skirt. In fact, I think you could use one of the larger child size patterns to make a short adult skirt. There’s a lot of gathering to the bodice, and her size 6 fit around my waist.

I used Moda Marbles in vanilla and indigo. No matter how silly it sounds, I was quite paranoid about attaching the strips in the wrong order. And I’m only working with two colours! But someone else who makes these dresses posted her technique — stacking the fabric in the order it would be used, then just pulling the next piece of fabric off the pile as she assembles the skirt. Perfect! I could double-check the order — asked Anya to tell me the colours, and listed for the alternation.

Anyway, assembly looks intimidating. You’ve cut twenty-eight segments and attached them together into fourteen individual strips. That’s a big pile of fabric. The whole thing came together quickly – like thinking I must have done something wrong quickly. This is certainly a serger project – it’s a lot of seams, and I would be devastated to spend this much time cutting and assembling a project (and five yards of fabric, even cheap fabric, adds up) only to have seams fray after a few uses. With a serger, though, I was able to assemble the entire thing in a couple of hours . The arc of each slices can be held straight for the ~2 inches between the front of my serger and its needles. I quickly developed a technique of sewing slowly and aligning the two fabric pieces at the front of the serger.

It does look odd (and huge) as the pieces come together.

I still need to hem the bottom and attach some snaps, but I needed to check the size one last time. Anya is so thrilled with the dress, she wanted to keep wearing it.

And make sure it spun well.

And make sure it danced well.

She says it works 🙂

I need to fix the top-stitching along the neckline. The thread pulled funny in a few places, and I mis-judged the center V. Final step will be to hem the bottom – I’m thinking of a rolled hem to keep it light-weight and “spinny”.

Halloween 2017: Lion Mask – Completion

I cured Anya’s lion mask in the oven at 170 degrees F for several hours, and it got hard. Then we painted it. Anya wanted to be a rainbow lion. I had planned to blend a couple of pearlescent water colours — orange, yellow, brown, and cream — to make a tan-ish tone for the fur, then combine the red and cream to make a subtle pink for the ears.

When we were making the mask, I was worried the ears would be unstable. So I’d added a coating of papier-mâché on the back, extending down past where the ears mount to the main mask. This gave us solid ears that don’t seem like they’re going to snap off.

Anya painted the rest of the mask while I worked on the ears.

From the side — I’d left a void through which the strap could be run

We then used a glitter infused soft-gel watercolour paint to give the mask some sparkle – didn’t seem like a lot of glitter when the paint was wet, but the mask developed a nice sparkle as the paint dried. The tones are fairly subtle, and I took a wet brush to blend her sharp edges.

 

Halloween 2017: Lion Mask

We made Anya’s lion mask a few weeks ago, but I couldn’t get the cardboard to hold together without using a lot of tape. Which meant the surface wasn’t consistent and was not easily painted.

So I decided to use the mask as a base for papier-mâché. First step – make papier-mâché goo. A good bit of research, and I realized there are a lot of ways people make this stuff. But since it’s going to be on her face, I didn’t want to use building supplies or even PVA glue. Decided to try the boiled flour/water binder. Boil a cup of water. In a separate container, stir together 1/4 c flour and 1/4 c cold water and stir until it is smooth. Once the cup of water is boiling, slowly whisk the flour into the water and boil for a few minutes until it thickens.

The paper – I used my pasta pot, and the paper fibers stayed within the basket quite well. Boiled paper for about ten minutes to soften it up, then used the immersion blender to break it up. Pulled the basket out of the water, and set it to drain. It was still wet, so I put the blob into a towel and pressed out more water.

Once I had a fairly dry blob of paper fibers, I mixed in the binder and used the immersion blender to form a consistent paste-like texture.

Then we pressed a thin layer over the mask – tried to get a texture that looks a little bit like fur.

Most important thing, Anya enjoyed glooping the stuff onto her mask, and she likes the finished result. I popped it into the oven on warm and am checking it every half hour or so to make sure we don’t burn it.

Tomorrow, we’ll paint it with a glittery tan paint, adding some pink paint in the ears, nose, and mouth area. Probably sort something for whiskers too.

Halloween 2017: Lion Costume – Furry Suit

I have Anya’s Halloween costume finished. I used a minky fur in camel for the body and a long-haired fur in camel for the mane and fur accents. The costume is just a shirt and pants made with minky fabric. For the pants, I used a free pattern from FunFleece — where the pattern says you can cut the pieces simultaneously on folded fabric, it should indicate that you need to cut two mirrored. If you cut on folded fabric, it is mirrored by design. If you cut two pieces separately … well, it won’t go together well, you’ll have to rip the seam, and then cut one the right way. No reason I know this 🙂 Once I had mirrored pieces, it was a quick job to serge it together, fold the waistband, insert elastic, and stitch the band together. The legs were quite long, so there is a 1.5″ folded hem at the bottom that can be let out as she grows.  The shirt is a pattern I drafted based on one of her long sleeved t-shirts.

The mane is a large rectangle with each side serged to keep the fur from shedding everywhere. It is serged together under her chin and tucked both sides of her forehead to fit the opening to her face. The back is opened so the mane pulls on easily. I used a few sewing clips to pull it together.

I cut small elongated trapezoids of the long fur fabric and serged them together to make a cuff. They just slip over her hand like a bracelet. Add the tail I made earlier, and we have a lion:

Somtimes a fierce lion with claws:

Peppermint Swirl Dress

I absolutely adore the peppermint swirl dress pattern, and would love to make one with a rainbow skirt. I haven’t the slightest idea what to do for the top … another colour looks out of place, but using one of the skirt colours in the top looks odd too. Then I saw a rainbow skirt where seven of the fourteen panels were black with a black top. It was an awesome look. Then I saw black stripes with a rainbow stained-glass. I would have made it, but the fabric was a limited run that became unavailable at the end of last month.

So I thought about designing my own rainbow fabric for the dress. https://www.spoonflower.com/designs/6869492-cubistrainbow2-by-lisa5 … split out with black strips, it looks like this:

 

Lion Costume – Mask

I started making Anya’s costume – this year, she wants to be a lion (took a while explaining that once we order fabric and stuff you cannot change your mind) with a mask on her face. Specifically, she wants a mask. Very important. So I had to figure out how to make a lion mask. I used Pepakura Designer to create a 3D model of a lion face and then unfold it into a series of printable shapes.

After printing the design, I clipped the paper to half-back (thin cardboard) that I use to store fabric. A straight-edge and x-acto knife helped in accurately cutting the pieces. They’re still a pain to assemble – a couple of extra hands would have helped. Problem is it needs so much tape to keep its shape, I have no idea how to paint the thing.

I’m thinking of using the cardboard mask as a base to apply papier-mâché. Then we’ll have a consistent surface to paint.

Halloween 2017: Lion Costume – Tail

To make Anya’s lion tail, I started with an elongated trapezoidal piece of furry fabric — not quite a rectangle because I wanted it thicker at the base of the tail and thinner at the end. I folded it in half length-wise, with the right sides together, and used the serger make a fabric tube. Turned it right side out and stitched the ‘tip’ of the tail closed. I used a bunch of poly-fil and slowly stuffed the tail (using big wads to stuff the tail made it look lumpy. I took small pinches of the stuff and pushed it to make a firm filling.). Then I hand-stitched a strip of long fur around the tip.

I wanted something Anya could put on by herself, so clipping the tail onto her clothes wouldn’t work. I decided to use an elastic band – cut a 4″ wide strip of the lion fur fabric about 6″ longer than Anya’s waist circumference, folded it in right sides together, and serged it into a tube but left a few inches at the end. I then inserted the tail into the tube and folded it so the top fabric of the tail was aligned with the top fabric of edges of the waistband fabric and finished serging the strip. I then turned the whole thing right-side out — so the tail was firmly held into the band and dangled down. I measured out a strip of elastic about 2″ bigger than Anya’s waist, threaded it through the band, and sewed the elastic together with a lot of overlap. My hypothesis is that I’ll be able to open the seam and make her bands bigger as she grows. Once I confirmed it was tight enough to hold the tail up on her waist, I hand-stitched the tube together at the ends to make a band. Voila, one lion tail!

Baseball T-Shirt: Completed

I finished Anya’s baseball t-shirt!

I sketched a quick heart in Photoshop, and drew in two lines of baseball-style stitching. The image was printed on Transfer EZE ‘paper’ using our laser printer (which answered the question: can you laser print on this stuff?). I then took a little scrap of quilt batting and laid it on the shirt. Placed a scrap of white satin on top, then stuck the Transfer Eze print onto the satin. It adhered quite well to satin – was a little concerned!

Put it in a hoop and embroidered the red stitching to hold the whole thing in place. I then trimmed the satin about a quarter inch outside of the heart’s lines; the batting was trimmed to be about a quarter inch smaller than the satin. Finishing the project was just needle turn appliqueing the heart to the shirt (using what amounts to a really short satin stitch).

The quilt batting really enhances the stitch definition for the red lines, and it makes the whole design puff out a bit from the shirt.