Monday, January 26, 2015

Doctor Who Crafting Con - The Making of the Whoodies

Today I'm a competitor over at CraftingCon for this month's theme of Doctor Who, so go check it out here! (And then go read the other competitors' posts, if you haven't already.) If you've been reading, you already know I'm a Whovian, so I jumped at the chance to sign up. Truthfully, though, I had plenty of nerves. Even though I've been sewing forever, I've never done a competition before, so I was worried about coming up with a competition worthy idea. There were a lot of ideas - I had designed outfits for Ellie based on Clara, Little Amelia, Jenny Flint, and the TARDIS, both the phone box and her incarnation as Idris. I had some trouble with most of those becoming too much cosplay, so when the idea for a weeping angel inspired hoodie hit me, I just had to run with it!

Weeping Angels move fast!
I had been wasting time browsing Pinterest, and this ladies' tee with an angel wing cut out pattern popped up. I went "hey, that's cool!" and decided it would make a perfect Weeping Angel. Only for a kid, I really didn't want to just leave it open, especially since it's January, and somewhere around freezing here. Instead, I sketched an angel wing and went with reverse applique, which I have never attempted before. I cut out the pieces for a Greenstyle Lacy n Lane, and basted a full lining piece onto the back for the applique details. After I figured out that I couldn't do the stitching on my regular machine without adding a lot of stabilizer and taking the time for a ton of practice, I sewed the wing outline by hand. That still took some trial and error. The first try I used too thick of a template piece, and a running stitch. When I tested pulling the pattern off, it pulled all of my stitches out, so I switched to using my pattern tracing paper and an embroidery backstitch. My back ached, my shoulder popped a lot on the days after I spent time on it, and my stitches weren't as straight or uniform as I would have liked thanks to all the shifting of layers, but overall I'm really pleased with the end result. And so is she! In comparison, it took me all of maybe 5 minutes to write the lettering on the cuffs with a fabric marker.
When in doubt, use the sonic to help with tricky sewing maneuvers.
Cyrus loves Doctor Who, too, so I couldn't leave him out. I ran down a list of ideas for him, too, including the 5th, 9th, 11th, and 12th Doctors, and Rory's outfit from "The Angels Take Manhattan". In fact the idea I used started as 9, but I wound up back at my favorite Doctor, 10. With some help from my husband, we tried to think of something that would be 9th doctor-ish. Some time later, we wound up at bananas, and decided that the best quote about bananas was 10 in "The Girl in the Fireplace", and it stuck. Brown and blue are sort of 10's colors, so I made a Peek-a-boo Hangout Hoodie since it has the hood trim and placket for a contrast color. The pinstripe button was in my stash, and when I came across it I thought it was a perfect way to give a nod to his pinstripe suits. For the banana applique, I actually grabbed a banana from the kitchen and used it to trace the banana shape, then sewed it on by hand. It was ridiculously faster than outlining the wings, but I don't think I've done this much hand sewing in ages. Initially I wanted to stencil the lettering on the back, but it wasn't working out right, so I used chalk to be sure of the placement, then freehand painted it on instead. This happened at the last minute, so we had to speed the drying along to get to the photo shoot!
Child labor! He actually had way more fun than I was having, and I had time to look for buttons.
 These were a whole lot of fun to design and put together, and they make my nerdy little heart sing. Clearly my kids need more clothing like this. I love making it, and they have fun wearing it, so everyone wins!

We aren't totally sure what's happening here, but the Doctor appears to be meditating with the Angel.
He's not a phantom. He's not a trickster. He's a monk.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Eye of Sauron

We love the Lord of the Rings here. It ranks high on my list of favorite books and movies, and has been a priority to share with the kids. So I was super excited when December's theme for Crafting Con was The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Patrick and I brainstormed a bit, since he's also a fan, and we came up with a few ideas to let Cyrus choose from. (Ellie hasn't actually seen the movies yet.) And, drumroll... This is the end result.

Truthfully, I don't think Cyrus remembers any of what he's seen. Patrick and I showed him the Fellowship a couple of years ago when he was the ring bearer in our friends' wedding, and was dressed as Frodo.
Gratuitous throwback photo. He was a month shy of 5 here. Where did that baby face go?
This time around though, he decided he wanted a hoodie with the Eye of Sauron. What's up with little boys and villains? I made a Greenstyle Creations Lacy N Lane, and he got his eye of Sauron. This piece actually ended up about a hundred miles from my original plan. I wanted to try Lumi Inkodye, and we came up with this design to print on the film.
Sketchy, firey eye, encircled by the ring inscription. Tell me that would not have been awesome.
I slathered dye all over the required area of the shirt, pinned the negative in place, and put it in the dying sun coming through the dining room window. Nothing. It really does require good sunlight, so I tried again the next day, using the brightest part of the afternoon on my back steps. After about three times the suggested developing time, the result was, well... Uninspiring, and very hard to see. I was incredibly disappointed. Not all of it showed up, and the words that did were all blurred together. So my other tip if you plan to try Inkodye? Don't use a finely detailed image. It will likely lead to disappointment.
It was still wet from washing out the excess dye.
In the end, I salvaged it with good old fabric paint. I was a little concerned, as I've never considered myself to be great with things like paint. It's not my greatest artistic area. However, seeing as the shirt I had put so much time into already was ruined, it couldn't end up worse. I'm so glad I did. I used Setacolor paints (I used the transparent line, which has been discontinued) and just went to town. The black center of the eye was actually first, then I layered yellow, orange, and red out from the corners to make the eye shape, finishing with a couple of smudges of black. And the end result is pretty good. The one last remaining gripe I have about the whole thing is that when I started out way back with the Inkodye, I placed the design too low, so it's across his belly instead of up toward his chest, but that's a small thing.

He loves it, which is really the most important thing. Though I think his favorite part of the whole thing ended up being the thumbhole cuffs, which I could have totally managed without the trials of making a fiery eye. I guess that's what you get for messing with the Dark Lord of Mordor and his eye!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Happy new year!

Happy new year! I have been out of town visiting family for the holidays, but am now home and ready to settle back into our usual routine. 2014 had ups and downs in productivity, both of crafting and blogging, but I'm relatively satisfied.
While I don't specifically make resolutions, (It's the one resolution I've ever kept!) I do have some goals for this year. Also included are some very honest pictures of what my crafting stuff looks like.

My big goal is to sew mostly from my stash this year. I'm hopeful to keep both my fabric and pattern buying to a minimum.
And that's not even all of it. I might have a problem.
It would probably be helpful to try to organize that stash so I know what I have and where it is, but I've always been terrible at that sort of thing. That should probably be a goal too!

I already have a list of projects to sew, and a few for other mediums. Since my sewing time is sometimes (often) more scarce than I'd like, I will be working on finding ways to get things done. It would be great to find some new things to do that could serve as a creative outlet, but may be easier to fit into my life as it is right now. On the list of possibilities is re-learning to knit (I may have a slight yarn stash, too.), and trying charcoal drawing.
My mom makes pretty quilts - much more impressive than the bag of yarn guarded by Batman.
As far as blogging goals, I am going to try to post more regularly, and more frequently. I'm thinking once a week is a reasonable aim, even if I don't always have a finished project to share. This will be a real challenge for me, so please bear with me as I try to find a way to stay organized and work out a posting schedule!