Saturday, February 28, 2015

50s Retro Ruffled Apron

I'm generally not one to make the same thing more than once.  It seems like once any project is finished, I've been there, done that.  Don't need to do it again.  This is why I will never be a good sales crafter.  Can't handle pumping out the same stuff over and over again. This apron was an exception to that.  I have made this same pattern four times now. 
That wasn't the original intent. It started out as a project requested by my mother.  For the last few years previous to this project, we had done the ugly Christmas sweater thing.  In 2013, my mom said instead of a sweater, she wanted an ugly Christmas apron.  So I asked her to give me an idea of what style she would like and I would do something up for her.  
We went to the fabric store. (The ONLY fabric store.  Actually, it's basically just a quilting addict who sells fabric out of her home in order to support her habit.  Don't get me wrong. Great lady and very helpful.) There were only three Christmas themed fabrics, and they didn't coordinate.  Since we needed three, and it was supposed to be an ugly sweater, we took some of each. When it was done, Mom was thrilled! She couldn't wait to show it off.

Everyone said it was a terrible "ugly" sweater. It was too cute! My sisters both informed me that they were putting in an order for next Christmas (now last Christmas). I had a year, so I figured I could handle it. I started with Tracy's.  I figured Ali would be more... particular... regarding her fabric. Tracy just let me choose.  I loved the Santa in the above picture, so I put together colours that I like.  At this point working at Serge & Sew, I had many more fabrics to choose from.  I got it done right away and it was on display at the store for a while.
Alison came down and chose her own fabric. I had to send Tracy hers, so it had to be taken down from the mannequin at the store.  I replaced it with Ali's as soon as possible.  Both of these samples were met with adoring reviews.  So when I had to send Ali's to her, we were left with no sample for the store.  
So I made one just because, with fabric that required no season.  It ended up being a class in the store.  This is a pattern of my own design and I've done it so many times that I've put it into a pattern. If you would like to try it, check it out here on my Etsy page.  I added tulle to the three Christmassy ones, but not the pink and blue one with the ducks.  I found it didn't really need it and it was much less fussy.  But for an added umph, you can add some tulle to the skirt if you really want to. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Mythic Worlds 2015

 Last weekend, I attended Mythic Worlds. For those of you who don't know, Mythic Worlds is the "premiere mythic music and arts festival on the West Coast."  Now, faeries and the like are not exactly my personal obsession.  Don't get me wrong.  I love fantasy. From Labyrinth to Lord of the Rings to Harry Potter, fantasy is my fiction of choice.  But I went for the niblings.

I don't get to see them very often and my sister, Alison Spokes (their other aunty) suggested I join her at the festival while she had the kidlets.  It was a blast.  The dancing, the people, the costumes!

I was dressed like a mountain goat faun, yet somehow I felt underdressed at this event. A lot of the costumes were intricate beyond imagination. There was a dragon whose wings actually unfolded and folded back up again.  There were some pretty poofy dresses that would give Sarah from Labyrinth a run for her money (Jareth did make an appearance). Down to the nitty gritty detail of beadwork or hand-painted paper flowers, some of the people put hundreds of hours into their costumes.  

(See the guy on the left? He's not on the stage.  He's wearing stilts.  The lady in the middle with the big dress? It's made of plastic plates and cutlery. Jareth is on the right and somewhere behind the faun is the dragon.)

I wish I could have watched the fashion show where the vendors get people to model their wares.  Jo got the opportunity to participate with her lovely face paint and toting an adorable headress, but it proved too much for her and we had to go deal with some tears.  She walked on that stage, though! (Actually, it was quite a magical moment. She was getting nervous right before the show and, since she was sporting her Elsa dress, all the other models burst into an impromptu rendition of "Let It Go." It cheered her up... Until she got on the actual stage.)

(Jo in her face paint and headdress right before the fashion show)

Oh yeah.  That bird lady.  She was creepy. Yet all the children loved her.  No issues walking right up to her and posing for a pictures.  The kids also loved Wotan (not sure if I'm spelling that correctly) the Faerie-Smasher. I didn't actually get a picture of him! I was too busy laughing at Jo and Nolan casting spells on him to make him think his hammer was a puppy.  That guy must have been seven feet tall!

My favourites must have been the Shadow Man and the giraffe. He may have just been wearing all black, but The Shadow was just as hard to see in real life as in this picture. It was mysterious. The giraffe may have been a guy taking advantage of needing forearm crutches, or he may have just been using something of the sort for effect.  There was a lady who transformed her medical scooter into her dragon mount, after all.  How creative!

That picture is hard to see, I know. But it was only at the masquerade that I saw him.  Another character of note would be the jellyfish - also on stilts.

It all makes me want to make costumes! On that note, I have informed the girls of Naughty & Spice burlesque troupe that I would be quite happy to help them with their costumes as well as make my own. I'd really like a challenge! I'm also hoping to get some proper sewing lesson from a lady in town named Anne Warren.  Her rates are ridiculously reasonable at $65 for four two-hour sessions. But it will have to be a paycheck or two away, as I'm still recovering from the trip to Mythic Worlds.  Would do again next year... If only for the shopping (that I didn't get to do this year).

Please... Feel free to post any pictures of costumes you have made! I love seeing creative outfits!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Mystery Quilt

   Anyone ever heard of a mystery quilt? Well for those of you who haven't, you are basically given instructions to pick out a certain number of fabrics in certain amounts without knowing what the pattern is and then given the instructions for the pattern in installments.  You don't really know what you're making until it's pretty much done.

Oh they give you guidance for choosing your fabrics.  Border Creek (the company whose mystery quilt I am currently working on) even gives you a sample colour way with the option to get that specific kit.  When I saw the colours I was like "Ick!" No judgement on my part if you like them. It's just not my thing. Here is what they had to offer:

Well I would have had to be different anyway.  I just can't handle the thought of making something by hand and still have it be the exact pattern and colours as everyone else. Seems to me that it defeats the purpose of quilting (or any other craft for that matter) in the first place! Here are the fabrics I chose in the same order as above:

I learned about mystery quilts when I first started working at Serge & Sew in June last year.  We were putting together plans for the previous year's Mystery Quilt Club's showcase party.  The walls were lined with so many quilts of all the same pattern in any colour way you could think of. I was mesmerized.  And I was determined to be part of it the next time around.

One thing I have learned is that it is very important to pay attention to the specifics of the instructions. When you don't know what the end result will be, you can't assume you understand how many of what you'll need. 
You'll notice that it says "6 pieces remaining".  That means that you don't do all 44 pieces, you only sew 38 of them.  Well, I wound up having to unpick those 6 pieces.
No harm done and it could have been much worse.  Now I'm taking my time and being meticulous about following the directions.  I only have so much fabric!