Think Outside the Box – Canvas

To switch it up, I thought I would give some art a go for a change. At work we had lots of canvas on special offer and I’d never worked with one before so I decided to buy one and do something with it.

I didn’t really want to do any painting, as that isn’t really my style. So instead I thought I would try out my mixed media sewing concept on canvas as it’s fabric and probably easier to sew through than the watercolour paper I usually do it on.

I wanted to do something bright and colourful, and the first thing that came to mind was a sunflower. I thought I could get the different textures and colours with different materials.

I first cut out lots of petals out of tissue paper. I followed a template so they would all be the same. I then used my ecoline brush pens to get the colour and blended it out with water. They were a little tricky to do as tissue paper is so thin, but I used a heat gun to dry them quicker and give them a crisp texture. I tried a few different layout before I stuck them down, but I preferred the center flower because the petals stood out over the edge and I thought it was unique. I coloured in the corners and center with gouache paint so that the background wasn’t left white. I traced a circle in the middle and stuck the petals all around it. I then started to embroider the sunflower seeds in the middle. I did think it would take quite a while, but I love the effect they give and it really does look like a creative take on a sunflower and I now want to do more flowers!

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SOI Rosie Dress

So, if you hadn’t already guessed, I’m a big fan of 1950’s fashion. I love the style of 50’s dress and are probably my favourite thing to design and make. After I made my jersey work dresses, I really wanted to make something cute and pretty. I searched through pinterest and came across this dress pattern by Sew Over It. As soon as I saw this pattern I fell in love, this was the perfect dress pattern for me!

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I bought the PDF version and started the pattern as soon as I could. I had already bought some fabric off ebay that I would would look nice made into a summer dress. I liked the initial design, but there were a few bit that I wanted to change. the bigggest bit being the zip at the the center back. I don’t like summer dresses without a bit of stretch and so I thought that instead of a zip I would swap it out for a shirred panel at the back. This way it would be stretchy and wouldn’t need a closure. I had never done any shirring before so I thought it would be a fun challenge.

I did start by practising the shirring and making a test bodice to see if the shirring idea would actually work before I made up the dress. I put on the test bodice and it fit perfectly so it was time to start on the actual dress.

The dress was pretty easy to sew up. The bodice normally has a zip at the center back, however as I didn’t want that I just traced off the back panel in one and did the shirring on that panel instead. The shirring did take forever, and I did have to do it twice because the bodice is all lined.

 

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The front of the bodice has princess dart seams and perfectly fitted wide straps. I pinned the straps into the lining and tried it on so that I knew exactly how long to make them to fit me. I then stitched them between the lining and bodice.

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The was a little trickier. As it was needed to be gathered, there was just so much fabric! The skirt was sewn in 3 panels, with a box pleat at the front I was so confused about to start off. the panel is steamed so that the pleat sits flat, then its sewn with the pleat tucked underneath. Once I worked it out it make a lot more sense. The rest of the skirt was gathered and sewn to the bodice. This took forever and was so tricky to get it all even because there was just so much fabric! But it all went well in the end and it doesn’t look too uneven now it’s actually all together.

I aboslutely love the final dress and I just can’t wait for the summer so I can actually wear it!

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Sewing With Jersey

So, I’ve never actually tried to sew something with jersey, and don’t actually know how to go about it, but the sewing pattern that I’ve been doing would be perfect in jersey. So I thought I would give it a go!

To start, I decided to look up anything I needed to know about jersey. I found all kinds of tips and tricks about needles, fabric, and techniques to get the most out of it.

The then made some little sample of sewing to see what worked best and what I liked. I read that the best stitch to use on jersey is a zigzag, that way the jersey keeps it stretch and the stitching won’t break. I also read that twin needle stitching was a good way of stitching hems and it has more stretch than a a line of single needle stitching. After reading this I actually found out that my sewing machine did twin needle stitching, and actually came with a twin needle! I would say that these samples helped with my jersey stitching, but after sewing a few seams I just revered back to doing a straight stitch in the widest setting.Β img_2803.jpg

To give the jersey sewing a go, I decided to go for a pattern that I had already sewn so I knew how it would end up. I chose the full-skirted dress in the Great British Sewing Bee book my mum bought me. I originally made this pattern out of cotton, but felt the sizing was a bit off as the top half was too small, but it gaped at the back (big boob problems…). So I thought that making it out of stretch fabric might make it fit a bit better.

I originally made the cotton dress out of a size 18 (!!!), I followed the measuring guide in the book and went by what I measured myself, rather than my usual dress (if I did that with the cotton dress I would never be getting that on!). So for a jersey dress I decided to go a few sizes down to factor in the stretch. For my first jersey dress I went for a size 14 hoping it would be a nice fit.

I sewing up the dress pretty much the same as the as I did the cotton one. The only thing I thought about cahnging was the neckline, I wanted to give a bias binding neckline a go but I tried it on a tester bodice I had earlier and it actually turned out awful! I didn’t know how to end the binding without it standing out too much, and I kept stretching out the neckline. I even looked up all kinds of blog posts and videos on how to do it but it just didn’t want to cooperate. In the end I decided to do the neck facing that was on the original pattern, that way I was less likely to stretch the neckline and it would make the seam look a lot cleaner.

The only other process I changed about the jersey dress process is to constantly steam each seam after every time I stitched it. I thought this would be the best way to combat the jersey stretching too much, and I definitly thought it helped.

After finishing the dress I was super happy! I didn’t stretch it out and the fit wasn’t too bad! However I still felt like I could do with a smaller size. So after I had this one I decided to make one in a size 12 aswell. (It’s a good thing I bought more jersey to sew with!)

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For the size 12 one I basically did it the same as the size 14 one, but made the size a bit smaller. I also look in the skirt a little a little bit on the outside seam so it fitted better on the fabric when cutting out as I somehow messed something up. But it came out really well in the end and I definitly thought it fitted better than the original size 14 dress.

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Christmas Crafting

So, this christmas I decided to make more things. As I now have more time to do it I thought it would be the perfect time to do it.

After the heat embossing working I kind of became obssessed with it! I have literally been stamping and embossing everything I possibly could. After I embossed some cards, I then thought it would be a cool idea to do some wrapping paper. At the beginning I thought this was a really great idea, and I loved the idea of having unique wrapping paper to give to everyone. However, after doing quite a few sheets of paper I found it really fustrating and the embossing powder kept going everywhere! I also made gift tags to match the wrapping paper.

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Heat Embossing Workshop

I always love learning new skills, and one I have always wanted to give a try is heat embossing. I signed up for this workshop literally as soon as it was released in the workshop booklet, I was just so excited to do it!

To start the workshop, Katie talked through different the different products she had, and the different samples she had made and how they were done.

We started by simply giving heat embossing a go. We started by using a watermark stamp, then using coloured emboss powder over it and heating it up with a heat gun. The two owls didn’t turn out too well, but they were only my first go so I didn’t exactly know what I was doing. We then used coloured pigment stamp ink then a clear emboss powder over the top. This meant that the colour of the stamp would shine through and make the embossing looked coloured.

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After that, we gave the coloured ink and clear embossing a go. However, this time we used watercolour over the top of them. I used my favourite pens for this, ecoline pens. Because the embossing created a cover over the ink, the watercolour just washed over it and creates a nice background.

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Katie then showed us an even cooler technique. We used a black dye stamp pad to stamp a design down, then we used alcohol based markers, like promarkers or copics, to colour in the design. We then used an embossing pen over the top and sprinkled clear embossing powder over to cover it. I loved this technique and loved using the ecolines over the top to create lots of colour.

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After we had learned all the differnt techniques, we had a go at creating cards and embellishing them with our embossing ideas. I started out a bit slow, but once I finished my first I started to get into it a bit more. My favourite is the crown card, I used my favourite technique on this one and it came out really well.

I loved this workshop, and definitly bought lots of bits from work to give it a go at home.

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Mixed Media Sculpture Workshop

On Friday, I went on a sculpture workshop at work run by Lois Cordelia. I had singed up for this workshop ages ago, literally right after she did her first one at work. I saw what the students were doing last time and how much fun they were having and just thought about how much I would love to do it!

To start off, Lois talked through all her sculptures she had brought with her, and how she had made them. She also taked through the different bits and bots she had with her they she puts in her sculptures.

To start, we each had a pack of wire that’s to be used as the base of our models. This wire was super flexible so was perfect to make kinds of shapes. Lois suggested that we start trying to make a stick man. Here are the start of the legs on my stick man.

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I continued with the rest of the wire until I got my little man. It was suggested to twist the wire to make it stronger, so I wrapped the wire all around the model to keep its shape. The second picture is my finished stick man.

As I finished my stick man early, I started on another model. I thought I would try and go for something different so I tried to make a mermaid. I found it a little tricky to get the tail shape right, but I just tried to experiment and see what I liked. I liked this shape because looked like she was sitting down.

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After both the models were done, I moved on to creating a hook for the back of my stickman. I used a pipecleaner to wrap it around the body and create a loop at the back so she could be hung up.

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I then moved onto the mod rock part of it. We cut up lots of strips of the plaster then had a tub of what to dip the plaster in, then wrapped in around the wire to get the desired shape. My original idea of this model was going to be a girl ina dress. However, the more I worked on this one, the more the idea changed. After I covered the whole of it in plaster, I started to make a skirt shape out of tin foil. I used shorter pieces of tin foil, then made it longer the more it was reinforced. I wanted the skirt to stand out so tin foil then plaster over the top was the best to use.

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I let my stickman dry and moved onto my mermaid. I did the same thing as the stickman and started to build up the plaster to get the shape I wanted. I wanted to give this one more of a rough texture so I added in some pipecleaners and some pompoms. I wrapped some more plaster over some of the pipecleaners and pompoms to make it look like bits are growing on her. I then started to add in some paint with the plaster. I liked how Lois did this because gives it a more natural look.

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I moved back onto the stickman again. I reinforced the skirt again, then realised that it would look perfect with some wings. I twisted some pipecleaners together then plastered them onto the back. I loved these wings and thought they made my model look like a fairy. This is how I had to leave her because I had to leave her as we ran out of time.

 

September Product of the Month – Fimo Clay

For my September PotM, I decided to do Fimo. I did a workshop on fimo at the end of august, so fimo was fresh on my mind at the time. As my workshop was all about making fuit canes, I thought this could be my example was the board. I had to think of a way of displaying the fruits so they could be on show, and came up with the idea to stick them on drawing pins, that way they have a use too! However, I did get carried away and make way too many pins because they are so much fun to make.

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