Post Tag: bunny hanger


Massively huge update

Thanks to my friend Mary, the most productive sew-er and crafter I know, I’ve had a renewed interest in, well, sewing and crafting. During the last several months, I’ve started and finished a number of projects. While I’d like to say I’ve recovered from my procrastinating ways, the truth is that I still have roughly a million unfinished projects around my sewing room. Oh well!

Here’s an overview of what I’ve been working on — complete with pictures!

First, there’s my most recent project, which has been on my to-do list for over four years: a custom dress form! I don’t recall if I mentioned this in a previous post, but the last attempt at a custom dress form didn’t go so well. It involves taping me tightly with duct tape, and as I learned the hard way, I pass out when my entire torso is wrapped up. It makes me all claustrophobic and stuff. I paid for an online class after this fiasco — this was almost exactly four years ago. This particular taping system leaves the tummy and chest untaped until the end. I guess I didn’t have any real reason for putting off making a dress form for so long, but I recently discovered that I couldn’t go without one any longer. So I enlisted the help of John and Mary to tape me. Last weekend was the scheduled taping date.

This time, the taping went much better. Until the end. As soon as the tape started going up my neck, I suddenly got that familiar clammy, hyperventilating feeling. Luckily, the form was pretty much done by then, but it definitely was not my finest moment there at the end. I’ll just skip over the details.

The good news is that I now have an almost-completed form. I just need to double-check the stuffing, tape up the back, make a cardboard bottom, and make a cover.

The bad news is that the form isn’t as exact as it could be. It’s about an inch larger than my actual circumference measurements at the waist and hips. And…well, let’s just lay that taping during severe PMS and directly following a large meal is not advised when you want an accurate dress form in the stomach area. The belly protrudes out about two inches further than my actual measurements. As John pointed out, at least I’ll be able to eat large meals and breathe easily in whatever clothes I make.

Here are the pictures of the form so far:

Front view
Back view
Side view

I can take some comfort in knowing that that’s as pregnant as my body will ever look. :P

Next we have some items that I finished in April, but didn’t have a spiffy dress form to put them on. The first is the last of three tiered skirts that I bought material for over a year ago. This one was a particularly tricky polyester material that did not want to stay on grain. Luckily, the fabric design, color, and nature of the skirt pattern helped cover up my off-grain cutting. I painstakingly hand-hemmed the skirt to prevent the problems I had with the other two.

Flowered skirt

I bought some material at CraftyPlanet and sewed up Simplicity 3867. I made a test garment from muslin first, and to my great surprise, the pattern fit without any alterations. Which is good, because I didn’t have the dress form when I made it. The dress includes pleats at the front shoulder and the skirt. The bodice is lined, and although the pattern instructions have the raw edge of the zipper tape exposed (sewn on top of the lining), I changed the instructions to cover the raw edge of the zipper with the lining. I also finished the inside edges with my serger. I used an invisible zipper instead of a regular zipper (and changed the pattern instructions accordingly) and did a hand hem. I’m finding that I get much better results when hemming by hand, even though it takes a lot longer.

Front view
Back view
Back closed with invisible zipper
Lining stitched to zipper
Hand hem and finished inside

The pattern also includes an option for a shirt version, which I’m currently working on. Here is a close-up of the material (it has bunnies!) and lining:

Bunny shirt bodice

Sewing isn’t the only thing I’ve been up to. I bought some earring kits at The Bead Monkey. I put them together last month. One goes with the mauve tiered skirt I sewed a year ago and the other goes with my summer dress.

Mauve chandelier earring
Blue-green waterfall earring

Last but not least, I was inspired by a recent post on the CraftStylish blog and decided to try my hand at Amigurumi. I picked up this book and learned some basic crochet stitches. Having never crocheted before, I’m very, very bad at it, but I still completed a couple of small pieces from the book. I’ll post them here for amusement value.

Egg — my very first attempt at this
Chick in an eggshell — this one is a little better

Whew! That’s quite a lot of stuff. I also finished the bunny decoration for Mary, but stupidly forgot to take pictures of it. Derp!

More updates to come! For real!


Lots of sewing!

I’ve been a busy sewer lately! I made another laptop sleeve, this one for John’s mom. I made it out of a canvasy home dec fabric instead of corduroy this time. Hopefully it will hold up as well as mine has.

I also finished the bunny that I was making for my friend Mary — I posted pictures of the work in progress on here a while back. Now I’m sewing the mitten that velcros onto the bunny.

I bought myself this totally awesome book. When I’m finished with my pending projects, I’m going to make some of these as gifts. I love weird stuffed animals!

And last but not least, the beaded ornament pictures I promised. Once again, excuse the terrible flash — these were taken with my point and shoot camera:

Beaded Ornament
Beaded Ornament (close-up)

Oh, and I got a new Rowenta Advancer iron! It’s about a million times better than my old one!


Sewing room cleaning and bunny hanger

I really have no excuse for not updating in the last eight months. It hasn’t been for lack of projects. In fact, I received a pattern drafting book for Christmas and I’ve been (slowly at times) teaching myself how to draft my own patterns. I’ve also completed a skirt pattern and prototype for my Rikku costume.

My current project, an extremely belated Christmas present for a friend, is a bunny wall hanger (Simplicity 4389). I already made one for another Christmas gift, which allowed me to work out most of the bugs. Here are some pictures of the work in progress:

In pieces
Stitching detail on the wrong side
Stitching detail on the wrong side 2

I took the pictures of the stitching detail (the brown line, not the yellow basting line) because I was particularly proud of it. The first one I made was pretty pitiful at this point. Unfortunately, the ears — which are basted to the head on the inside at this point — were much better on the first one. I didn’t clip the seam of the ear before I basted it, so when I turned it right side out, the ear was not totally caught in the seam. I had to re-stitch the seam on the top of the head, moving it down farther (and ruining my awesome first-time stitching job…*sigh*). I also had to do some hand-stitching to cover up the ear seam. It was a mess, but it looks fine from the outside.

The other challenge involves the ears as well. The pattern instructions call for floral wire inside the ears to make them stand up. The ends of the wire are taped together inside the ear at the bottom. Since I didn’t want to repeat the mistake of the first time where I had to sew over the wire (not good for the machine), I tucked the wire ends far enough up inside the ear that they would not be sticking into the seam. Unfortunately this (or perhaps the heaviness of the wire) doesn’t allow for as much support at the seams. When I hold the head in the center (where the plastic loop hanger goes), the sides of the head collapse, making the ears hang forward. To get around this, I’m going to sew a loop hanger to the back of the ears rather than the head. It will be more annoying to hang up, but it’s really the only way it’ll work at this point.

To be fair, the first iteration, even with its wires in the seam, may also collapse in this way — when I made it, I couldn’t find the plastic loops, so I didn’t get to test it properly.

Anyway, those problems are easy enough to fix, so I’ll just be happy that I’ve become more successful at stitching around a curving outline.

In other news, I’ve been working on cleaning up my sewing room. Not just the usual picking up, but a whole new reorganization. I don’t have a good “before” picture, but some of my earlier photos of the room show how I used to store my fabric and such. I did snap some “before” pictures this time around, but only after I’d already pulled a bunch of stuff out of my closet and reorganized the fabric.

Looking into the room
A look at the partially-organized closet and the not-at-all-organized sewing machine table
Another look into the room

Organized closet
A wider look at the closet and the pattern cabinet
Looking into the room again
Ironing board and bookshelf
Pattern-drafting area
What’s behind the door
Clean sewing table
Bulletin board
Bookshelf and sexy entertainment center (with TV, DVD player, stereo, and iPod hookup)

I feel very good about this current organization. It makes me feel more creative for some reason.

I have some more pictures of the skirt prototype and my bodice pattern coming up!