Occasionally it seems that world is in pure chaos with nothing making sense, but that doesn't matter as long as I can sew. Sewing is a form of art, or at the very least creativity, and a form of expression. A great outlet for the tension of everyday life. Also you can make cute things. The craft revolution is truly taking place, old skills are being revived by a new generation, but with a seriously modern twist.

I've made Mario pillow cases, a giraffe print background, and turned duvet covers into summer dresses. I enjoy making something unique, special, and me- then I like wearing it and watching it fall to pieces or not fit properly. Then I enjoy (slightly less) fixing it.

One day I shall have a room filled with glorious fabrics and boxes of notions, and on that day I will have found my nirvana. But until then this blog will exist as my virtual haberdashery and sewing room. Hopefully you'll enjoy looking at my creations as much as I enjoy looking at other blogs, and you'll be inspire to make something of your own.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Super Mario Plushie

 Bigger is always better- while my Little Felt Mario was cuteish, my Mario Plushie is entirely awesome sauce!  And probably life sized, he is rather short...

I found a plethora of images of the aforementioned plumber on the interwebs (although word to the wise there are some weird images of Princess Peach) to use as a base.  I then drew my own version- Mario's head is pretty much the same size as his body without feet so I divided the paper almost in half.  A third of the top half was his hat, the other two thirds were his face, his arms came half way down his body.  So I just divided the paper up by folding it to offer me a grid to draw on.  I only needed to draw the left half as I folded the fabric over to make sure both sides were symmetrical. I had to modify the drawing a little for the back- no face but hair instead, and slightly different straps for his overalls.

Once I had my Mario drawing, I placed another sheet over the top and traced the drawing so that I could cut out each element- his hands, feet, arms, overalls, face, ears, moustache, side burns, hair, eyes, eyebrow, nose, hat. I then set about cutting these out of fabric- luckily I had plenty of the correct colours left over from when I made the Mario and Luigi Pillow Cases for Valentines Day for Boyfriend.  I kept it all fairly simple apart from using some pretty flowery blue fabric for his overalls, as well as some weird mottled fabric from an old pillowcase that was the closest thing to Mario skin colour (with perhaps a skin disease).

I sewed the individual pieces together to make the front, I sewed the elements onto his face at this point too, then made up the back.  I decided that I needed a lining as my stitching had left tiny gaps that might fail when the plushie was stuffed.  I traced around the outline of his entirety and cut it out of some spare red fabric.  Some how both lining pieces (front and back) came out different sizes and shapes despite the fact I cut them out at the same time, also they were different from the Mario front and back I had made which also didn't match each other- d'oh!  But some pulling and prodding and they all fell in line.  I pinned the front lining to front fabric, and the back to the back, then the front pieces to the back pieces wrong sides together.  I mulled over sewing them right sides together but this would have added the complicated of turning him right side out again at the end.  Also my stitching so far had been visible so I kept the edge stitching also visible.

As I was sewing him up I started adding stuffing, much easier to do this as you go than at the end when you have fiddly bits like arms and legs to fill.  When I got to the top I added an extra piece of red fabric to finish the top of his hat (I probably should have/could have just made one of the original hat pieces bigger for this but I didn't think it through at the time!  Then I finished stuffing and sewed up his head.  I then added another this curve of red fabric for the peak of his cap.  And then I was done :)

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Can sewing be feminist?

I suppose another wording for the title might be can feminists sew?   I personally cringe at the idea of prescriptions of what acceptable behaviour for women, usually it's women should be ladylike and subservient/women should take off all their clothes and dance around a pole/women should navigate these two contradictory ideals of womanhood in their own time.  For such a long time sewing and knitting was very much in the domestic sphere and under the designation 'women's work', and as such rendered fairly meaningless.  As Natasha Walter posits in her book 'Living Dolls'* there has been a strong resurgence in biological determinism- that men and women are different due to their biology, we're 'wired' differently and that's all there is to it.  This is bollocks and offers us an extremely narrow set of activities we can and can't engage in.  But with such a strong attitude that crafts and sewing are for women not men, should modern feminists reject such nonsense by rejecting bobbins and the such like? 

The thing is that as a traditional form of women's work sewing, knitting, and crafts were often another chore that a women had to do as her role within the family and home- eg darning socks, knitting baby blankets.  But nowadays women have other reasons to sew- for themselves outrageously enough!  As Gertie from Gertie's New Blog For Better Sewing puts it 'we live in a very exciting time in which feminism, punk DIY aesthetics, and eco-consciouness have converged to create a new crafting movement. And instead of feeling oppressed by sewing and other domestic arts, feminists now often use them as a means of connection to each other and to our creative selves.'

Women can use sewing for practical reasons, that also have a political bent too.  The fashion industry is notoriously horrendous- it's elitist and prescriptive.  It tells us what we should wear but makes it extremely expensive and unobtainable for most people.  Tied up in that is the modelling industry- the models who advertise the clothes represent the apparent pinnacle of beauty that no non-model will ever be able to meet but should spend every second of their lives attempting to.  As this trickles down from high fashion to high street most women find their biggest bug bear is that they can't get a decent pair of trousers to fit as sizes often run small and different shapes are not taken into account.  And here sewing skills can be a vital tool as you can make your own clothes, get a nice pair of slacks, and cut out the influence of the evil fashion industry. 

And lets not forget not all feminists are women, although not nearly enough are men.  Or should I say not nearly enough men are feminists?  Thinking about feminism as something for men and women is so important as the core belief of feminists (or the feminists worth listening to) is in equality for all human beings not focusing on so called 'women's issues'**.  So instead of thinking that women should do or not do women's work, why not feminists should take up crafts as an outlet for their creativity.

*Read it!
**Feminists of the past fought valiantly to bring into force various legal and cultural changes to help women but really 'women's issues' sounds like your lipstick not matching your high heels.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Tiny Felt Mario

Well the post title, while lacking in my usual wit and clever way with the English language (there isn't even a single pun), pretty much sums the post up.  I have made a little Super Mario out of felt. 

Ah felt is there nothing you can't do?

I consulted the great internet oracle for images of Mario to copy be inspired by, then drew a few little Marios of my own before cutting it up into bits to get the parts. The parts were then cut from felt and sewed together.  I used red for hat, arms, and chest, pink for face and hands, blue for overalls, and brown for shoes. 

I did a sort of French Knot for his nose after finding a decent video of how to do them, linked here.  Then stitched his eyes and moustache using a basic poke and pull method of the needle through poor little Mario's head. 

And Mario can join the rest of my little characters in my growing felt army:
Android Felties
Zombie and Ninja Felties
Christmas Decoration Felties


Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Talk Nerdy To Me T-Shirt

Another geeky one, yay!  I'm not the first person to use 'Talk Nerdy To Me', and I darn well hope I'm not the last.  But I did my own little design on the bottom, also I sewed the wording onto mine, instead of buying a lazyboy pre-made one. 

I typed the wording out in my favourite font (courier new- which looks very typewriter-ish so I thought it was apt) and printed it out.  I pinned it to the t-shirt and sewed over the typing in white.  It looked really good, then I pulled the paper away, and it looked less good!  But I sewed over it and was pleased with the result.

My little design along the bottom looks like asterixes (or is it asterixi?) but then you turn the t-shirt over and it's Pacman!  And the little asterxis are the little things Pacman eats.  I was thinking of doing Ms Pacman (as Marge Simpson said 'Ms Pacman struck a blow for feminism') but I couldn't be bothered to get the red thread and her lipstick and eyelashes freak me out anyway.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Spring Fling* Dress

After a few months of doing little projects and customising/destroying stuff it was super fun to be back making an actual piece of clothing, namely a dress.  My sister had bought me some nice fabric from the Victoria and Albert Museum (actually the website but whatevs) for my birthday- she bought me a metre of each so I didn't think I could make a full thing with the fabric.   I bought a few metres of plain navy blue cotton fabric (because I'm dumb, I thought the V and A fabric was flowers on a blue background but it's actually a black background, but there was also some dark pink fabric with little black flowers that I used to break up the other two making the contrast between black and blue less obvious).

I used McCalls pattern 6503 which had really cute drawings on the cover but, as usual, the real lady wearing the real dress looked fairly underwhelming...because of the dress not the lady btw.  But this is the issue with all patterns, so I wasn't concerned.  My dress is version A- the top left.

I collected my ingredients, cut out the pattern pieces, then cut out the fabric pieces.  As I said I cut the bodice from the blue flowery fabric, the midriff from the dark pink fabric, and the skirt from the dark blue.
Following the, sometimes inscrutable, instructions I attached the interfacing to the facings (also in dark pink), sewed together the bodice, made and attached a ruffle (a five minute job which I protracted out for about 2 hrs) and attached the facing to the bodice.  Then I stopped for the snack break :)
I think it was sometime around here that I realised I had made the ruffle too short but I would have had to unpick everything to fix it so I left it.

 For the first time I actually planned ahead and bought the zip before I started sewing the dress so I wouldn't have the stop to take a trip into town to buy one...although I didn't buy bias binding** which I also needed so I did have to take a trip for that...doh!

*Not having a fling, just like to rhyme...thought I'd clear that up.
**Bias binding is a fairly thin strip of fabric cut on the bias, or at 45degrees, which you use on the edge of arm holes, necklines, dress hems etc because it is cut on the bias it will stretch around the curve without ruckling.***
***Ruckling may not be a real word, but I use it a lot.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Android Feltie/Ninja Android Feltie

I love the little Android that is the logo for Android phone, possibly the only reason I allow boyfriend to use his phone so much...Also he likes Ninjas so I made a ninja one!
Here are the little felties I made, not sure it's my best work though- it's been a while since I made one... I was hoping they'd be cuter... I was going to give them to boyfriend but I don't think they're good enough...

Thursday, 3 May 2012


Done quite well recently at actually doing stuff, which is unusual for me.  Just need to regroup slightly, especially after my holiday interruption, to plan my next activity.  I do enjoy planning, and have been told by friends, family, co-workers, and strangers on the street* that I plan too much.  As if there is such a thing as too much planning!?!

But when you work different days each week, including a lot of weekends, and have to factor in buying/ordering/waiting for it to be delivered/tripping to the post office depot to pick up stuff you weren't at home to receive before you can start a new project.  And the fact that you have no money but also enjoy going out to the cinema and the such like with boyfriend.  Anyway my next projects should/may include:

Bunting for my sisters wedding- the wedding isn't until May 2013 so I'm thinking I could put this on the back burner for a while.  I made bunting before and may have some fabric left over, but I might have search around for a while to find some more.
Summer Dress- using the fabric my sister got me for my birthday.  I'll need a new dress pattern first though, and probably a zip.
Embroidery- I've been dabbling already...

*Well they would stop me to tell me that if it weren't obvious to all that I was far too busy planning things

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Times Gone By Look Book

Well of course there were a million cool vintage pics I could have chosen for this one, although I did think I had more than I actually did, but I wanted stuff to fit into a brown/yellow colour scheme.  I felt like my look books had been a bit stuck in sliver and glitter.  But it turned out to be tricksy to find appropriate pics in the right colours.  But I would totally wear this outfit, especially the glasses :)