Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Halloween Crafting for Vany - Part 1

So here's another post of some stuff I actually made ages ago! If you guys follow my blog regularly you will know that each year my friend Vany and I do a craft swap and  I usually share what I've made. Vany wasn't able to play along this year (but its ok, she's coming to visit in February!) and I still haven't finished all of the stuff I wanted to make for her (I'm still two days short) but I thought I would share what I  did make - even if we didn't have it as together this year as we have other years.

The first thing I made Vany was a cross stitch - I had a design in mind to make for Vany, it was one of Rich's designs and as soon as he finished it up I knew it was perfect for a Halloween swap! The pattern I chose is available in Rich's esty store if you're interested.
Here it is off the hoop, I really love stitching patterns like this, you feel like you have quickly achieved a lot by stitching up one motif at a time - I think I stitched quite a few of the motifs in one night, which makes for satisfying stitching.
Here's a bit of a close up, the eyeball is probably my favourite part of the design.
The second thing I wanted to share with you today is the bag I made for Vany, its a satchel style bag that I've made before - see here and here. I didn't make too many changes from the previous times I made the bag, however, this time I used some amazing fabric that I had been "saving" (all people who sew do that right?).
Here's a wee bit of an action shot in the making (sadly I didn't take too many) the fabric was incredible (like I already said) it was pretty much Hammer Horror fabric and I loved it SO MUCH. But I only had a metre, not really enough for dressmaking, but plenty for a bag. This time I lined the inside with black cotton that was a bit of a pain to work with (I don't know why, its black cotton) but I got there in the end.

For the earlier versions of this bag I had to rely on a door handle, but this time around I had the help of an actual model (thanks Rich). I really did enjoy making all of these bags and would like to make more in the future, but I always get put off as it seems so difficult to get the hardware for bag making - maybe I should just stop overthinking it and actually see what I can find and make more bags.

It probably seems a bit out of place to be blogging about Halloween stuff now, but in my world every day is Halloween and I really loved making this stuff so I wanted to share!

Hope everyone's countdown to Christmas is going well!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Sugary Sweet Dress

It will be no big surprise to my regular blog readers that my blogging slowed down in the second half of 2016, but that doesn't mean I still wasn't doing stuff and making stuff - I promise you all I was!

I didn't blog about a lot of it though and I would still like to share some of these makes, even if I made them MONTHS ago and worn them a bunch of times since then. First garment that sits in this list is a dress that I made to wear to the New Zealand Chocolate Festival with Joy.
The Chocolate Festival was held at Te Papa and its the second time I've been along, it was spread over two different conference rooms. The first room was full of demonstrations with everything from a 3D printer that was printing chocolate to more traditional chocolate making techniques from some of the culinary schools.
There were also some pretty impressive cakes on display, including this rockabilly lady and also a model of Te Papa in cake form.
Unfortunately the bottom of the museum had been eaten by the time we got there - so we didn't get to see it in all its glory.
There was also a chocolate fountain, but there was a big line to get to the fountain and only two marshmallows per person (I guess that's the only way the line will keep moving).

To be honest, I was a bit disappointed with the first room as it was fun, but it wasn't really a lot for the ticket price. The second room was the vendors room and I thought it wouldn't be that great, just people trying to push their product onto you.
While the room was full of vendors, it was the exact opposite of everything I thought it would be, it was full of craft chocolate companies from all over New Zealand.
People were more than happy to share very generous samples with you and tell you all about their company, it was really awesome and I felt like I learned about chocolate.

One of my favourite things was the Cacao Husk Tea - Mayan Man Cacao Husk Tea, made from the Cacao husks of the beans other companies use to make chocolate - they told us they bought the Cacao Husks from Wellington Chocolate Factory and other companies.

We had to try a few things along the way of course (on top of all those free samples) to make sure everything was fresh - obviously.

Anyway that's enough about chocolate for one post - now onto my sugary sweet dress!
Just ignore my less than glamorous bag in the corner there, one day I will spend some money and get a real grown up bag (actually that's pretty unlikely).
 I made the bodice of the dress from a pattern I've used many times now, the Sigma Dress from Papercut patterns. This is now my go to basic bodice pattern, part of me wonders if it fits so well with no adjustments because its made by a New Zealand company - probably not the case, but I like to think it is. The skirt is just one big gathered rectangle - nothing too fancy.
Here's a close up of the fabric, its covered in lollies (or candies, or sweeties, depending where you're from). It was on sale a long time ago at Made Marion (well before the chocolate festival) I bought some because it was so cute and I couldn't believe no one had bought it!
I also wore my chocolate skull and candy skull shoes as it seemed completely appropriate for this event (also I love these shoes).
I wore this cute candy heart necklace that I've had for years, as it seemed in them, I also wore this bat that Vany craft ninja made me - just because its awesome.
Finally to finish off, a selfie of Joy and I at Te Papa - you can see her necklace is made of cupcakes which is pretty appropriate as well.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Square Dancing Outfit

Hi Folks - thanks for all your kind words on my earthquake post, I think I have now recovered from in personally, by saying that I mean every time I step into an elevator or bus I have stopped asking myself "what would happen to me if there was an earthquake right now". I'm not sure the city has recovered quite so well, around 10% of the cities buildings were impacted by the earthquake and there's lots of repair and demolition work happening, but life is even harder for folks in Kaikoura so I am pretty grateful.

Onto something a bit more cheery now, I made a square dancing outfit! WHAT?? For our work function this year the theme was "Wild West" (which I may have chosen along with a work college) anyway a work function calls for a costume and as the theme was Wild West it meant I could finally use this square dancing pattern I bought for a couple of dollars when Arthur Toye fabrics was closing down.
My original plan was to make a square dancing blouse and a skirt from the Colette Ginger pattern. A few months back when I was at fabric a brac I found some great fabric for the top - this fun cowboy boot fabric, I loved it from the minute I saw it and as I had a wild west party on the horizon I knew I had to have it!
The fabric is a quilting cotton and pretty much perfect for what I wanted to maker - each boot has the name of a different state in the US. As always, I had my trusty assistant nearby to help me with my project.
She sat down on the fabric pretty much as soon as I took it off the shelf - as soon as I pull out fabric or a pattern she must sit on it immediately.
The pattern was a pretty easy sew, with four main pieces and elastic in the neckline and sleeves. I didn't have a whole lot of fabric so had to piece the sleeves together bit the fabric is so busy its hardly noticeable.
As I was sewing up the blouse I decided that if I was going to go dressed up I may as well take it all the way, so put away my Colette pattern and made the skirt pattern as well as the blouse from the kwik sew pattern. I really love gingham, but have a tendency to hoard it and not really wear it so decided to use some of it for this project. The red gingham I bought from Arthur Toye fabrics and the yellow was from the very first fabric a brac I attended!
Mia again was happy to "help" me with this part of the project, she sat on the red gingham as I tried to cut out the panels.
 The skirt is a pretty easy make (it has an elastic waist casing so no fitting issues) but its time consuming as there are so many panels to sew together and the frill on the bottom is actually huge - so much hemming.
Here's a photo of all the patterns sewn together, before I added the bottom frill and elastic at the waist - SO MUCH FABRIC!
In the spirit of "everything last minute always" I finished up the skirt the night before the work Christmas party, the finishing isn't the best on the skirt - but it's a costume so it doesn't matter too much.

On the day of our work party, I did win best dressed! Although the prize was a pair of possum fur nipple warmers - but I still won!

I didn't really take any photos on the night of the event, but Rich took a few photos of me wearing my square dancing outfit earlier today (Mia joined me for the photo shoot - of course).

I wore the skirt with this crinoline petticoat I've had for a number of years that I always think I should get rid of, but never do and it turns out that its a really handy thing to have in your wardrobe.
Also on the day of our work party we had a secret Santa and it turns out that my secret Santa understands me completely because I received this book:
I hope you are all doing well and enjoying or avoiding the lead up until Christmas - whatever you prefer!