Archive for the ‘Clothing’ Category

A little nothing goes a long, long way.

April 4, 2010

sophie is pretty

A friend asked me to embroider some words onto some clothes for her. When the request was made, back in November, she had no idea what she wanted. We slowly wittled it down to “Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens” (Talking Heads lyrics ftw!) and a super little vintage stripey vest.

I made a cross stitch pattern for it, using Stitch Point.

A link to a bigger image

Sophie said she wanted the entirely lowercase one. And so, on it went!


When I was taking it to her, I was busy reading God Bless You, Mr Rosewater by Kurt Vonnegut on the train. I was excited to find an extract of Mr Rosewater’s book, describing heaven. And how does he describe it? As a place where nothing ever happens. “Heaven is such a null… A LITTLE NOTHING, O GOD, GOES A LONG LONG WAY.”



Stencil on Shirt

July 13, 2009

One of my bestest friends in the whole wide world writes cute pop songs about manatees and eighties pop songs and what’s good and what’s bad about having a beard. He’s pretty sweet. If you like ukeleles and you like simple songs with a good sense of humour you oughta check him oot. He calls himself Jam On Bread.

I helped him out recently by making him some t-shirts to sell on his current tour. I went for a simple stencil plan. I put knitting based shapes in it since he likes hand knit jumpers and he has a song about Sweden… and it all sort of fits, right?

Mine’s pink because I’m special. All other t-shirts are blue/green though. I hope to get some snaps of some other kids wearing ’em… Time will tell.

Clothing the naked

January 14, 2009

Ok so, in our sewing room at college, a room used almost entirely by young, impressionable girls who are naturally concerned mostly about their waist lines and breast size anyway, we have a picture of a stark naked pin-up. I understand why we have pictures of girls in corsets, I understand why we have pictures of skinny, beautiful girls wearing (very little) high end designer wear down a catwalk. I get it, I don’t like it, but I get it. But why do we have this? She’s naked. She hasn’t got a stitch on her.

A friend and I were once sitting at the sewing machines, when I took a break. I looked up at the poster and said to her “Doesn’t that make you feel totally inadequate?” (referring to how skinny the pin-up was) and my friend says “You? You’re about four times the size of me!” Initially I was shocked, until I realised she was referring to her breast size, something I’d overlooked.

Maybe it’s me being over sensitive or easily angered- but it just seemed wrong to me. There has been a suggestion for a long time that it ought to be changed. Should we take her down and replace her with women we ought to look up to, women relevant to our subject? A picture of Vivienne Westwood, perhaps? The main flaw in the plan was that the room is closely guarded – we can’t be left unsupervised in the room, lest we sew ourselves together, or something. And the main woman who does supervise us is the type of woman that would find such an act nonsensical and think nothing more than the original picture looked good, and would be unable to see the bigger picture. In short, she’s an idiot.

In an unfortunate turn of events, the poor lass got ill. We got cover in the form of our other teacher’s cover. With two uptight teachers taken ill, we had only a woman from a fine art background, and a feminist too. We saw our chance. We took it.

Alas, we weren’t prepared- we had only the resources in the room and a short time span to work in. So we figured the best course of action was to clothe the pin-up. Acrylic felt was fished for in the fabric bins and snips were made and PVA glue was the bonding agent, not enough time for stitching. Up she went, this time masquerading as the ever present symbol of feminine power, Rosie Riveter.

marilyn the riveter

I feel proud of myself today.

Gingham hearts

September 13, 2008

The wonderful Amy of Angry Chicken blog hosts a group, similar to the Daring Bakers- who every so often make aprons. Amy chooses a theme, and everbody crafts their apron accordingly. The first theme that I was able to join in with was ‘Gingham Summer’. And boy, was I glad. I love gingham. Red and white gingham especially*. Red and white gingham aprons even more.

Amy brought to my attention a needlecraft I’d never heard of before- chicken scratch embroidery. It’s time consuming- it has to be thought out and planned- it’s frustrating- but it’s completely and utterly wonderful.

I researched previous Tie One On themes in the flickr sets before designing my apron.

I was inspired by those beautiful ruffle aprons, and the wonderful heart shaped bodices in other aprons too. And so I guess mine is some form of hybrid between the two.

I feel I should apologise for the shoddy photograph. I wanted to show off the bodice in greater detail, but I thought we were only allowed one snap- so I stuck the two together. Also, it wasn’t my day looks wise. I’ll see about getting you an even closer picture of the chicken scratch on the bodice- but I’ll have to do that another time.

I’m sad to report that that’s the last theme for a while. I was looking forward to a shiny new apron.

*looking through my posts I realised every other post contains red and white gingham. I didn’t realise until now how this obsession has totally taken over my life. I must try and cut down.

Think Happy Thoughts & Smile

August 28, 2008

I made myself a new skirt- A new high waisted pinafore skirt, to be precise.
I used the A line skirt pattern from Eithne Farry’s book ‘Yeah, I made it myself”, only I modded it quite a bit. I made it high waisted, and I made it a good deal shorter too (because I’m like that). I also added some straps that were rather embarrassingly inspired by ‘Didge’ from Neighbours. Oh yeah, she’s my style icon.


It looks rather unassuming from the front, granted. But I like to think the back’s quite special.

pinafore skirt backview

I realise you probably can’t read the embroidery on the pockets. And since I spent so long on it, I’m going to give you some close ups, just so you can. Although, I really think I ought to be hiding my machine stitching…

Think happy thoughts & smile.

I got a lot of inspiration for this skirt from different places. The shape from Didge Parker, the pattern from Eithne Farry, but also I got the ‘think happy thoughts’ from a kid’s t-shirt. It was in the ‘Frankie Say Relax’ style- but it certainly made my day. I couldn’t evenly distribute ‘think happy thoughts’ onto two pockets, so I had to add something else. I included the ampersand, thanks to The Ampersand Blog, and I thought ‘smile’ just fit right in.

(Oh yeah- and I will wear tights with it when I wear it on excursions. It’s a bit scandalous without, I realise.)

Presents from Australia

August 20, 2008

On Cut Out and Keep, on the forum, we often have craft swaps. They’re on craftster too, but I find on cut out and keep they’re a more manageable, personal scale so I like to participate often on the cut out and keep ones.

Today I completed a swap package and sent it off to Knittin’ Kitten, but I shan’t post that until I have word she’s received. No spoilers! Instead I’ll show you what I sent to Shivi, a darling little girl in Australia a few months ago.

The theme of the swap between Shivi and I was a very open one- we’d give three things that we liked, and three colours. She gave me Alice in Wonderland (Disney), Kawaii and Vintage Floral. She also said she didn’t mind about the colours, provided there wasn’t too much pink or dark blue. So! Here’s what I made for her:

Here’s a little needle felted Needlebook, following the Kawaii theme. The font is (I hope) Japanese for strawberry, although I’m sure I went wrong somewhere along the line.

Here’s a waist-pinny for the vintage floral. I messaged her before asking her for examples of vintage floral patterns she liked. I’m glad I did, if I’d have followed what I had in my mind I’d have used fabric that looks rather more like wallpaper and curtains with large cascading flowers on it, but she wanted something far more demure. I gave her a pocket because every pinny deserves a pocket.

But I like to think I’ve saved the best till last. She asked for Disney Alice in Wonderland, but I misread the situation and thought she meant either Disney or Alice in Wonderland. I often forget there was a Disney version of Alice in Wonderland, since the Tenniel illustrations and the book itself is so completely magical, there’s no room in my heart for any Disney. I started stitching her this piece, and half way through I worked out what she had probably meant. Being stubborn, I chose to ignore it. I know, I know it’s bad but! Tenniel’s illustrations were so beautiful, and the quote was so perfect! Shivi is at the age of that awful time at school when everyone’s telling you to plan out your life and plan out your career. If I’d have done that, then I’d probably be preparing to study history at degree level, and even more likely- desperately unhappy. Instead I followed my own feet and, although currently am doing nothing worthwhile, I’m perfectly content. I hoped that Shivi would have the success that I did, and thought I’d give her this quote to poke her in the right ‘direction’.

Then I made it into a cushion.

It was received very well I am pleased to report, and she sent me a super little package in return. Thankyou Shivi!

Hello, stranger

July 15, 2008

It’s been a while. I’ve had a busy while, in all fairness. But not busy enough to forget about you.

I’ve got some pretty pictures for you though, I hope they help you forgive me.

This is a dress I made for my Textiles Unit 6. I got 56/60. That’s an A.

It’s a costume for Mae Rose Cottage from Under Milkwood. The skirt part is quilted, like she’s sleeping in a bed. It’s based loosely on Sweet Lolita style.

There’s a big cushioned bow at the back, and on my head.

The edges are scalloped, the bodice has pink tucks, and the sleeves are princess.

It’s fuller than full. It took forever to make, quilt, crochet, structure, sew. And now it’s doing nothing but lying in the corner of my bedroom. It’s a sad life.

Promises, promises

June 11, 2008

Ok, so I know you couldn’t sleep overnight, just getting excited about this post, right? Well, I’d never let you down. Here she is, in all her curtained beauty:

It’s silly, you make yourself a classy looking cape from a brocade curtain, granted you picked it up in a bargain bin for £2, but still. There’s class. All the while you make it, you dream of wearing it to the opera, and taking along some binoculars on a stick and feeling like a real lady, like a million dollars.

And then it’s finished, and you put it on, and you just can’t help but run about going “de-neh-de-neh-de-neh-de-neh-de-neh-de-neh-de-neh-de-neh-de-neh-de-neh-de-neh BATMAN!”*

Ah well, such is life.

*NB I counted the de-nehs, but I’m still not satisfied. Any comments correcting me will be greatly appreciated.

Preview of tomorrow’s post

June 10, 2008

I’ve started setting myself crafting deadlines! Probably not the best idea during these old exams of mine.
Anyway, I’ve decided I’m going to post the finished article of this thing tomorrow:

What you see before you, I made that in about an hour and a half today. It was once a curtain. The hardest bit was unpicking all the stitching between the curtain and the curtain lining, and then reuniting them as cloak and cloak lining.

I’ve never made a hood before, I like it. Goodness knows when I’m going to wear it, but it worked for revision avoidance for me today. Nothing like having better things to do to push you into doing some crafting. In a minute I’m going to go and do some crochet. I know this is going to come back at me in the form of disappointing results but right now I just want to crochet. And so I’m going to.

I heart big prints

May 20, 2008

This weekend we had a little visitor to our garden. It was this beautiful field mouse

Unfortunately he had a little broken hind leg and was quite ill, so he died at the end of the night. In the meantime we fed him tasty morsels of pumpkin and sunflower seeds and we gave him water to drink, soaked in kitchen towels. I sat with him as he died so he didn’t feel alone.

Today I had an Art History exam retake, ‘Ways of Seeing’, from my AS year. In the paper we have two pictures of paintings to choose from, we have to describe and discuss the stylistic features, the way the subject is represented and the use of colour, etc, and then we have two pieces of sculpture to choose from and do the same to, and lastly two pieces of architecture.

It should be a piece of cake, but last year it came out as my lowest scoring module. I’m still not sure how. Anyway, last night whilst I should have been revising, I instead made a pinafore shirt out of some fabric patterned with snails and pheasants and other examples of British wildlife, that I stole from College. The photograph makes it look like it sticks out at odd angles- it doesn’t. You also can’t see the cute bow at the back (that covers up a mistake in my stitching *ahem*) but you get the idea:

And yes, those are my Art History revision notes in the background. Oh Botticelli, you and your mythological paintings.
Today I went to Swindon College to see their showcase exhibition for Foundation Art (what I’m doing next year) and on the way I went to Gorse Hill (which is a bit out of the way) to go Charity Shop Shopping. There’s one in particular that sells fantastic bedsheets and things, and I went so I could buy some fun fabric and make more fun clothes from it. Of course when I arrived they’d shut for lunch. Well, the saying goes ‘when the lord closes a door, he opens a little window’, and it certainly worked out for me today. It drove me further into Gorse Hill and I ended up in my all time favourite charity shop, the Salvation Army Store. This is a great one because if they haven’t sold something after two weeks they mark it down to 50p and you can walk out with arm fulls of bargains. Most of it’s hideous, but gloriously hideous. It also smells like something’s died, but I can get over this for the bargains.

I never get fabric from there. Their bedsheets are normally really horrible, but today, oh today! I found some fabulous curtains. Not to everyone’s taste, and certainly not to my mother’s, but these beauties came straight from the seventies (and probably should’ve stayed there).

I got two of them for 50p! They’re about a meter and a half in width and a lot more in depth. This is a detail shot, the clowns (mimes?) themselves are only about five inches in height. I use the word “only” loosely.

I think I’m going to make a high waisted/pinafore skirt from these. Gotta love pinafores.