Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Broken Doll

So Halloween has been and gone for another year, here in Australia not everyone celebrates Halloween and it has really only been in the past ten years that it seems (at least to me) that the retailers are trying to make a buck out of this particular day. 

This year Miss Loofie had an invite to a Halloween party, so of course she needed a costume.
First she wanted to be a ghost: yeah the sheet over the head kind (yawn).  Then she wanted to be Corpse Bride, an interesting challenge, but still a big nope from me.  Finally I suggested she go as a Broken Doll and a creepy haunted broken doll at that. I had a vision of what I wanted to achieve and I also decided to enter the costume in the Urban Threads Halloween costume contest. 

I started with Mccall's pattern M6187 It is a really nice old fashioned dress. The costume is made out of black drill and white poplin from Spotlight, pretty much everything else has was from my stash of thrift shop goodies.

I made a few changes to the pattern, to begin with I didn't add the apron over the skirt as it made the dress look like a French maid costume and that was totally not the look I was going for. 

I also decided to pleat the skirt to better show off the embroidery designs
lastly decided not to use a zipper on the back, but to use huge chunky buttons instead
The real fun was choosing which of the awesome embroidery designs from Urban Threads to use, seriously there are so many fun designs over there it is hard to choose.  I decided that I would buy the Toile Noir  design pack which gave me some spooky yet beautiful designs to work with.
I did have one issue with the skull on, I am working with new embroidery software and I set the wrong size hoop , ooops!  There is still a little portion of the first attempt under the final version, I don't it shows too badly.
Finally, my favourite part of the costume, a tiny top hat!! This is a free standing lace from Urban Threads, isn't it cute?

I had so much fun making this costume, and by the look of it Miss Loofie she had fun wearing it.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Buttons from Buttons

Do you love buttons? I adore buttons, especially pretty vintage buttons; I mean look at these lovelies
Mmmm pretty buttons
 Aren't they just beautiful? Side note: button makers of the world why did you stop making pretty, intricate buttons like the ones above?  Most of the above pictured buttons were lucky finds  at one of my many thrift store trips, and from my research some of the buttons are over fifty years old. 

There are some problems using vintage buttons: firstly, they can react in strange ways to modern laundry detergents and don't like the tumble dryer, in addition to this some of the buttons are starting to show their age and I am worried about them breaking, one other problem was that the buttons were either in the wrong colour or there were not enough to actually use for a garment.

I came across one solution on Pintrest some time ago: polymer clay buttons! And I have finally taken some time to test it out.

First you will need some polymer clay, I used Fimo because it was what I had, but you could use any over bake polymer clay.  I also used some mould making putty to make a mould from the prettiest buttons in my stash
The putty I used is called Pinkysil and comes in two parts, once mixed together they will start cure within two minutes so I found I had to work fast
 I found that it was easier to form the mould over the button, rather than pressing the button into the putty, I also found that it was better to press the putty down and then not touch it again until it had fully cured.  There is another mould making product by the same company that is a liquid rather than a putty and I might try that next time as I found it hard to pick up all the detail in the buttons.

I have not worked with Fimo since I was a kid so it was fun to play with, Miss Loofie joined in as well and she loved it so much she has asked for her own Fimo.  the first step is to condition the clay by kneading it and working it until it is soft and pliable.  I then pressed the clay into the mould making sure to work it well into the details of the button in question.
I would then take my blade and slice off the excess clay- you have to be careful here not cut the mould.
The first few buttons I made were fairly chunky and I played around to see how best to neaten the backs on the buttons
I found a baby wipe handy to smooth out any imperfections on the back.  I the turned the mould over and carefully pealed the mould away.  I then baked the buttons in the oven for thirty minutes

I used some Adirondack alcohol ink on some of the buttons to enhance the colour and bring out the detail a bit

I must be honest here and say that I have no idea how well this ink will cope with the laundry process, nor do I really know how well the buttons will behave when actually used as, uh, buttons. I will say that they seem strong enough and the information I have been able to find suggests that, if baked correctly, there is no reason for the buttons to perform any differently to plastic buttons.

And there you have it, buttons from buttons! aren't they pretty?  Now I am not an expert on polymer clay by any stretch of the imagination but I have to say I am really pleased with the end results. I also love that I am able to make a button that matches the fabric perfectly.
 I am planning on using some of these buttons in my next project and I will let you know how they perform.  Have any of you made your own buttons with polymer clay? I would love to know if you have any tip or tricks with working with the clay.

We will be back to sewing in the next post with some more pretty clothes and a certain Ice Queen costume  for Miss Loofie.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Denmark Western Australia

The past two months have been crazy! I have been on a short holiday to Denmark Western Australia,  we've had school holidays and on top of all that I have been doing a whole lot of sewing, and I do mean a whole lot of sewing but I will post more about that later.

We try to go away once or twice a year and for the last few years we have been making our way down to Denmark in the Great Southern region of Western Australia.   There is something about the Denmark region that just draws me in, something that I can't quite put my finger on, or maybe it is something in the water?  at any rate Denmark has found a special place in our collective family heart.  being winter down here in the Southern hemisphere the weather was lovely and cool and rainy, with some sunshine mixed in for good measure.
Denmark River
Given our interest in photography I thought it would fun to have a little challenge for us all while we were away so the four of us had a photography scavenger hunt; the idea being that it would help us slow right down and appreciate the small things. I would like to say that this little plan actually worked, well mostly and I certainly got to see and photograph some things that I may have passed by otherwise.
The scenery in the Denmark and Walpole region is stunning, there is so much to love! from the beach and rugged coastline to the breathtaking tingle forest, from the Walpole wilderness area  to the friendly township of Denmark with its great food and super friendly locals *sigh* I want to go back just writing this.
 We finally found the gorgeous Elephant cove this time and I wish I had found this when we were down there in January, it is just so impressive.
  We found this rock near the entrance to Elephant cove, doesn't this look like the perfect mermaid rock? I am going to have to make a mermaid tail for Miss Loofie! 

We took a day trip into the historic port town of Albany and took some more pictures
Albany W.A- seriously photogenic 

while we were there we visited the old convict gaol, a fairly old building by Australian standards and allegedly haunted (oooh spooky!) we didn't meet the resident ghost but it was a very cool building and can't help but think how hard life must have been for both the convicts, but also for the first European settlers, Australia must have seemed very wild and alien.

I love learning about history, especially the history of domestic life so I was pleased to see the old iron and mangle on show in the museum.  the kids were being a pain so we threatened to put them in stocks for bad behaviour
 Nah just kidding, both these kids were willing victims participants in this photo
  I have to say there is something about standing on the coast looking down at the wild and mighty Southern Ocean to make you feel so alive. I could stand an look at this view for hours and not get sick of it.

 We spent a few days wandering amongst the beautiful Tingle, Karri and Jarrah trees the beautiful Forest in the Walpole/ Nornalup National Park

We also (finally) made it to conspicuous bay/ cliffs and I have to say WOW! look at that surf, the picture with Mr Mishka in the foreground give some idea of the scale of the waves; you really get the feeling of the might of the Southern Ocean here: next stop Antarctica. 

   Alas all good things come to an end and after a fun week it was time to leave, I always feel that one week in Denmark isn't long enough. 

Since we returned to Perth I have been very busy with costume making for a dance production at school and school holidays on top of that!  However the costumes are finished and the performance over and I am now turning my thoughts to more sewing projects.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014


A very quick post today, but I am SO very excited and I just have to share my excitement.

A little while back I ordered some woven labels from an Etsy seller and I have been waiting very impatiently for the package to arrive.
Well they are here! 

I am so happy with the labels and I would recommend the Etsy seller Worldsalelabel  to anyone who is thinking about having labels made up- I am still amazed that it is even possible to have personalised labels made up!  I would have preferred to include a picture or a little logo on the label, but for now I am really happy with my labels and I am looking forward to stitching them on to everything I make.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Autumn Sewing

Down here in Perth Western Australia it seems that the weather has finally turned and it is starting to cool down.  I am afraid that I am not a summer person; maybe I would be if our winter was cold and snowy, but as it stands here I LOVE autumn and winter!

Miss Loofie has grown since last winter and she will need new trousers, leggings, T-shirts and hoodies, especially since she almost flat out refuses to wear store bought trousers.  I will probably make her a dress or six and she has requested more skirts.

I have already made a start to this ever growing sewing list, a special occasion suit and shirt for Miss Loofie to wear to the Ballet.

Miss Loofie and I went to see the W.A Ballet perform Giselle on the weekend, it was Miss Loofie's first time to see a Ballet and she was enthralled by it. As those friends and family who are reading know Miss Loofie LOVES to dance and seeing her little face light up when the curtain went up was wonderful.

To make the jacket and skirt I used the very lovely Sunday Brunch Jacket and Skirt by Oliver+S. I was very happy with the pattern and I will probably make the jacket again. I made both the Jacket and skirt from a beautiful teal cotton velveteen; I thought this would be a good chance to practise sewing with this type of fabric as I am using the same fabric in a lovely deep burgundy colour for the Princess Elizabeth Dress.  I didn't find the velveteen too difficult to sew, it did fray terribly and put little bits of teal fluff everywhere. I used a walking foot to sew all the seams and this helped with the tendency that pile fabric has to creep and shift.

I really wanted a cute shirt to go with the suit, complete with a peter pan collar so I had a look through my Ottobre magazine collection and found just what I was looking for in issue 6/2007 "Amanda blouse (15)"

I made a few changes to the pattern, I decided to make it with short sleeves as Miss Loofie doesn't feel the cold but will whinge if she is too hot. I also added little cuffs to the sleeves

I used some lovely purple polka-dot poplin (try saying that 3 times fast) from the depths of the stash and some gorgeous vintage flower buttons from a thrift store: vintage buttons make me happy, vintage buttons make Loofie happy so we were both happy with this look.


I tried to copy a hair style from Disney's Frozen, it was very tricky to accomplish because Miss Loofie has baby fine hair (ugh) and not enough of it to get a really nice big braid. In the end I did the best I could and I was very happy with the way it turned out.

I am glad that I went to the effort of making a very special outfit for Miss Loofie, she really loves it and it made the day just a little more special and grown up.

I hope all of you have enjoyed a little peek into my sewing room.