"Resign yourself, Catherine! Shops must be visited! Money must be spent! Do you think you could bear it?" - Northanger Abbey

Monday, June 8, 2015

HSF 2015 - Challenge #6 - Out of your comfort zone

What the item is (and why it was out of your comfort zone): Its a housedress/apron. Its out of my comfort zone because I have not had sucess with wrapover dresses or tops. I've stayed away from them as I could never adjust them to fit. But now my fitting skills have improved decided to go for it.

The Challenge: #6 Out of your comfort zone

Fabric: Floral print cotton

Pattern: McCalls 6959

Year: 1940's (and could even work for early 50's)

Notions: Bias binding, thread.

How historically accurate is it? I based it off the period images I found on pinterest and the sewing patterns of the day.

Hours to complete: Well I sorta lost track, stopping and starting. Took me ages to get the fit right but once that was done it was fairly quick to sew up.

First worn: Today for pics.

Total cost: It was all from my stash so cost me nothing but the fabric was probably around the £5 per metre mark.

 I started with a modern pattern that was close enough to what I wanted. Then I took the narrow skirted view, left off the collar and flared out the skirt into an A-line shape.
I slash and spread the bodice pattern widthwise, and added a little length to the bottom of the bodice.

I used some yellow bias binding from my stash for the ties...but now I think I should have used some self bias fabric. I did change my mind halfway though as I was going to use the yellow to bind the arms and front of the apron but it looked a bit....tacky.
 I even had enough fabric left to make a matching headscarf.

Monday, May 25, 2015

MCM Comicon London - May 2015 (Saturday)

Comicon report time! This was my first time at the May MCM as I'd only done October before. There were a few differences between the two but fundementally the same.
I felt that this was much more busy than in October, but I prefered the layout and the queuing system this time. I had bought in advance a priority ticket, this meant we could be ushered inside pretty quickly collecting the wristband and then moving into the foyer/concorse area to wait for shutters to open on the halls. this was much more civilized affording to wait for the 'doors open' time in relative comfort. I usually spend first 15mins of any con getting a cup of tea and using the loo anyway. lol!
I wasn't planning of seeing any of the guests the only ones I was interested in were out of my budget...so it was primarily a cosplay and shopping trip this time.
The first cosplayer I snapped was this brilliant Ariel. I was really impressed by the cut, fit and finish of the dress and the detail of the 'crown'. So often ariel's pink dress can be a bit one size fits all but this looked just as good in person as from a distance. And I liked it had a more historical feel in the construction.
Next I bumped into this lovely lady. Vintage 50's AND Doctor Who...perfect. It was really clever how the skirt folds back to show the interior and the handbag was genius.
I was looking out for pokemon cosplay's amoungst the sea of misty cosplay's I spotted this cool officer jenny.

Sorry for some reason the computer keeps changing the orientation of the picture.
There was also this spot on Captain America and Peggy Carter.

The emporer and some storm troopers were patrolling the con....better hide...these are not the cosplayers you are looking for. ;)
I finally found a stargate SG-1 cosplay. I always have trouble finding them at UK cons? where are you hiding starge cosplayers?
At 11am the general entry was let in...there was a roar of the crowd and they surged forward...ahh! runaway, runaway! lol! It was a bit scary I ducked behind a column.

after lunch headed outside there were meant to be some meetups/photoshoots but due to a brief shower and me not checking my phone I missed them...still I took a stroll around.
Couldn't help taking this sneaky photo...captain america investigating a suspicious boat base. ;)
Back inside I bumped into Whatersername's Cosplay, VJW Cosplay & Costuming  & Little Fierce cosplay...Ace, Ten and Twelve respectively.
Also spend an hour or so at the board game area playing a few of the games on offer...really liked this game black fleet, lots of strategy potential.
Back outside again after getting a bite to eat as the con was closing soon....I spotted wally from where's wally...twice.
There was a lightsaber v nerf battle at one point which was amusing to watch. I even found this great visas marr.
End of the day I finally found a Loki!
Did Captain america stop Loki's evil plan....well I'll leave that to your imagination.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

HSF 2015 - Challenge #4 - War & Peace

What the item is (and how it is a product of war or a lengthy period of peace: This is a headscarf. I wanted to do something much more complex but I just don't have funds to make any of them from scratch. so I chose that in the spirit of WW2 I would make do and mend.

The Challenge: #4 War & Peace

Fabric: cotton (I think it was a scrap from my stash)

Pattern: none self drafted

Year: 1940's

Notions: thread

How historically accurate is it?
I'm not sure whether sewing machines did these stitches in the 40's but I thought it was such a sweet design.
Hours to complete: 1hr-ish.

First worn: today! I'm wearing it now.

Total cost: Nothing really all from my stash.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The captain's shield

So I needed a blond comic book character to cosplay....after running through the ones I knew I chose captain america as he was good in the avengers movie I saw last year. One of the things I needed was a prop...a shield to be exact.
Couldn't afford to buy one and my budget was very tight. I looked up a few tutorials before I settled on buying....

A shallow planter for 99p from...well the 99p shop. It wasn't perfect but it was close enough.
I decided I wanted to use the blue variation of ther shield from winter soldier which would match the outfit I was interpreting.

First of all I had to modify the shape a little get rid of the 'lip' round out the bottom and smooth the sides.
So I built up the areas with newspaper and papier mached over the top. The above image is after the 1st layer. Hopefully this way it will stay light.
Second layer...looking better.

I then did a primer layer of silver spray paint. The inside is a bit scruffy. Then I used craft foam and string to create the star and 'rings'.
Then did another layer of silver spray paint.
Then began painting the rings blue. And glued on the handles.

Finally I drybrushed the shield with black paint to make it look like it had battle damage.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

HSF 2015 - Challenge #3 - Stash V2

The Challenge: #3 Stash
Fabric: muslin
Pattern: none. self drafted.
Year: 1780-1812
Notions: ribbon
How historically accurate is it?

This was a bit of a last min random item....so my research consisted of checking out pinterest. lol! I tried to make the right shape. It is more of a re-jig of the bib part of a bib front gown I gave up on because it stretched too much.
Hours to complete: Only took me one morning so a few hours.
First worn: For photo's...it won't be worn till later this year.
Total cost: As this was restashed after I gave up on the dress ages ago I've forgotten the price....and I nearly threw it away. eeep! I don't really know the original price anymore.

Sneaky peek at a WIP cosplay...can you guess who I'm cosplaying?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Singer ONE Sewing Machine - Review

Review of singer 'One' anniversary model in white. This machine was gifted to me.

The Spec

  • ONE TOUCH™ Stitch Selection with 24 Built-In Stitches
  • 2 Fully Automatic 1-Step Buttonholes
  • SWIFTSMART™ Threading System with Automatic Needle Threader
  • QuickView Stitch Setting & Simple Stitch Adjustment
  • DROP & SEW™ Bobbin System
  • Presser Foot Sensor
  • Feed Dog Control
  • Extra-Large Sewing Space (374 mm/14.7”)
  • Extra High Presser Foot Lift
  • Automatic Reverse
  • Free Arm

Included Accessories
All-Purpose Foot, Blind Hem Foot, Satin Stitch Foot, One-step Buttonhole Foot, Zipper Foot, Needles, Bobbins, Spool Pin Felt, Auxiliary Spool Pin, Thread Spool Caps, Needle Plate Screwdriver, Lint Brush/ Seam Ripper and Soft-Sided Cover.

I'm primarily a garment sewer so I was impressed by the number of stitches on offer (My Janome J8-13 only has a few) and the ability to adjust length AND width. I was happy to find the decorative stiches in particular as I usually have to embroider by hand. There's also stretch stitches and overcasting.
I used the auto setting on the tension initially but I'll soon branch out to setting my own tension manually. The stitches seemed even but when using some of the stitches on thin polycotton I had problem with the fabric bunching up.

example of the auto tension giving me the wrong tension

I'm used to a side loading bobbin so having a top loading is something new to me. It all seems rather enclosed so I'm worried about how to clean the machine sufficiantly.
The top bobbin threading confused me with is simplicty. It was when it got to the bit near the needle that (without help of the DVD which I didn't get) and the most ambiguous diagram in the manual that it all went wrong. I kept thinking it'll never stay in the hook when I start sewing it must attach somewhere else. But no it IS that basic. I used the autothreader too. Which only seems to work with the 'official singer needles' that came with the machine. The lower bobbing 'drop in and sew' also threw me, I kept wanting to do the usual pull up the thread thing.
Let me say I've only just got the hang of threading the machine and not having it jam/thread snap/random error message and shouting at it.

The printed manual appears to say to thread the machine like this.
but as you can see from the online diagram below.
it says to thread it like this
When I thread the second way I get an error message/thread keeps snapping. And when I thread the first way its fine?

The machine came with a standard foot, satin stitch, buttonhole (the kind that calculates the button hole size for you...you won't belive how happy I am about this. *shakes fist at 4 step buttonholes*) and zipper.
So far I've only tried standard, satin and buttonhole. Need to test the zipper one next. I didn't understand what the felt disks were for though?!
The pedal seemed a little flimsy compared to my janome one.

This is quite a noisy machine for an electric one. It does a chugging grunt rather than a nice hum.

The machine manual
Was fairly good, but could have been set out in a more logical manner. The threading diagram is appauling...a dashed line?! what does that mean next to a solid line?

What would you change?
I'm not a fan of the auto needle up and the weird reverse button...still not figured out the coordination with that one. I would have liked to have the required foot for each of the stitches offered.

This is a Diva of a machine. She likes to be given the official singer stuff and to be treated gently. If you don't take your time she'll throw a strop *shakes fist at C6 error message* and can take a little adjusting to.
I still have my janome as back up if she decides to throw a diva strop at least. ;)

Monday, February 16, 2015

HSF 2015 - Challenge #3 - Stash

The Challenge: #3 Stash
Fabric: Cotton
Pattern: Truly victorian 400.
Year: 1870s-1880s
Notions: Ribbon, buttons, boning
How historically accurate is it? Well I used TV patterns which are usually accurate, I used the right historical techniques and can get away with using sewing machine for this era. The boning and buttons are plastic so 90%? Closest I've been in ages.
Hours to complete: lost count...it took me a while just to do the fitting before I started sewing.
First worn: For photo's...it won't be worn till later this year.
Total cost: Now the purple fabric was in my stash as I attempted to make a medieval dress with it and failed, the fabric I used for flatlining was donated to me from someone elses stash, same with the ribbon. I only bought the buttons and boning.

So my concept was HA disney and this was bodice for my victorian mermaid. I took the colours that ariel wears and create my outfit.
 I started by tracing off the pattern and doing intial tissuefit.
Before hand basting my fabric toile and tweaking the fit.
I then unpicked the basting stitches and used it to flatline the purple exterior fabric. Making sure I cliped the curved seams and pressed them. I then made the casing for the boning and attached to the inside of the bodice.
I then sewed the peplum with a scaloped edge to give that seashell effect. Attaching it to the bodice.
 Then I attached the sleeves and finished off the neckline with piping.
Laid out the buttons to work out how to space them.
Then after I finished the buttons attached ribbon trim to the collar and a waist stay.