Friday, 30 September 2016

Just call me inchworm

STILL messing around with these inchies. I've gotten no work done on the dolly stuff all week, but I figured I needed a bit of a break.

I've made some backing pieces for some of them, and edged them all by hand.  Fingers get more sore each day, despite wearing a thimble.  But they're worth it.   I'll bead these up when the beads I've ordered arrive and make them into the thing I have in mind.

As for the others, I've beaded those and sewn them into a bracelet.  I'm so pleased with the result.  There's something like 48 hours solid work in the bracelet, so when I list it, it's not going to be cheap.  I will however try to figure out a less labour-intensive way of making them, because it looks so nice.

The fabric links are hinged together with beading - which again is so technically hard and time consuming.

With some more of the original fabric 'pad' I appliqued and machine embroidered, I cut some to shape (the heart was technically difficult) and made them up into these lovely pendants too.  I have chains on order for the pendants, so won't be able to list them until  they're fully assembled.

I am kind of dying to gt back to dolly clothes now. I want to sew up some Patience and Blythe outfits to offer, and I have a new idea for Evangeline, but while I have all the inchie stuff out, in my teeny little room, I'll try to finish these up before starting a new project.

I used to run my own business designing and making jewellery, and some silversmithing, and it's a blast from the past to make something now.


Thursday, 29 September 2016

Ongoing inchies

Still playing with my inchies (that sounds vaguely rude.)

I start off by finishing the edges by hand.  This is painstaking and makes for very sore fingers as the fabric pieces are a bit difficult to get the needle through in places.

But I like the hand finished edges for neatness and colour.   I tried edging some with the machine, using zigzag stitch, but it's not nearly as tidy.  I probably just need practice.

All edged in embroidery floss which I've space-dyed myself.

I need to figure a way to assemble them into bracelets next.  I have one or two ideas.

I love them with added beads too. I'll be doing more bead malarkey with them.


Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Making inchies.

I've long wanted to have a go with these.

you prepare a piece of appliqued or embroidered fabric, and then cut it into one-inch squares.

Mine aren't quite inchies, they're 3cm by 2.5cm - ies.

But the fabrics are PURPLE.  And pretty.   Did I ever mention I like purple?

Once you've cut them out, you can embellish them a bit more, with buttons, beads, some hand embroidery, and then arrange them into a little picture, or something mice like a bracelet.   Which is what I'm going to have a go at.

Each one is a lovely little work of art all on it's own.  Next - backing and beads, maybe.   There's a lot of work in these once you get to the hand sewing parts.

I'll be cross-eyed by morning!


Monday, 26 September 2016

Procione - my new Etsy shop.


I've been making all my pretty things for a while now, and have opened my new Etsy shop.

Shop link right here:

Besides all things dolly, I love to paint, applique and embroider, and generally am never happy unless I'm making something, thinking about making something, or having a quick coffee break before I resume the something I'm making.   So when I need a break from the dolly clothes and patterns, I make small items and paint the occasional picture.

Procione - is Italian for Raccoon, and is pronounced Protchoni.   I wanted to keep that whole Raccoon thing going, and I almost went for the French name, but as I do have Italian blood in my veins, I preferred the Italian version.

I'll be selling artwork, textile art, hair accessories,bags and pouches, and hopefully will make some gloves and scarves at some stage.  I have a plethora of ideas in my notebooks, so we'll see what happens in my brain and what ends up in the shop.

Here are some shots of my work, it's a blast making these things. It takes a fair bit of planning and problem solving to come up with ideas and designs, and I've actually learned how to sew in zips.  I've never done a zip before now.  I deserve a slap on the wrist for that, I'm sure.

New skills are always good to have.

Spectacle/sunglasses cases in reproduction vintage fabrics:

Make-up bags, jewellery  pouches, or pencil cases:

Fabric cuff bracelets of varying design:

I took a shot of my first batch, along with some of the unfinished barrettes:

And a lot of hair barrettes.  Some with French (spring) clips, and some are stick barrettes:

I used to love stick barrettes back when I had long hair.  I had far too many of them.

I've even made the sticks myself, sanded, stained, polished and buffed up to a satin sheen, they slide through the hair very nicely.

And one more for posterity, seeing as I took so many shots of these....

And that's all the visual candy.

It's pretty scary opening up a shop to sell things online, especially when it's all handmade.  But If I didn't do it, I'd have all these beautiful things lying around my room and being wasted. Anyhow, I've linked both my shops to each other, and my personal icon is still the lil' raccoon... who always looks a bit dazed and confused to me.

 But then, so am I.  ;)

Some of the time....


Thursday, 22 September 2016

"White Wytch" Outfit for Ellowyne Wilde.

I've made a little broom and a necklace to add to the White Wytch outfit that I made for the sewing pattern SSP-036.   It looks fab now, and is up for grabs as I type.

Here in my Etsy shop:

I love the dress and corseted overskirt.  Both are fully lined.

The original Ellowyne sculpt is so pretty.   She makes a lovely good witch.

You can click on the images (I think) to see a larger size.

Even the gloves are lined.  I tea-dyed them,  gotta love tea-dye.  The colour is fast, but I always line dyed items just to keep dolly safe from staining.

I'll throw in a skein of the yarn/cord I used to tie up the gloves and as a lace for the corseted skirt.  And that little choker is so cute.

For the broom, I've used hardwood dowel, hand trimmed and sanded.  The bristles are real. I bought a brand new hand-brush and chopped off some of it's bristles.  It will come in handy for witches brooms in the future.

In other news, I've been faffing around with some of my other crafts. I'm so close to getting the last batch finished and some of my art photographed.  The new Etsy shop is ready, but I have it on vacation setting for a bit until I'm ready to open.

It shall be open soon!  


Friday, 16 September 2016

SSP-040: "Lagenlook" Evangeline sewing pattern.

I've had a lovely inspiration picture on my hard drive for a while now, and finally I managed to get around to making somehting similar for Evangeline.

I love layers.  A lot.  And I love all the lagenlook or Mori girl fashions I see on t'internet.  I was wondering if Evangeline is the kind of girl to wear such an outfit - but just look at the girl! She's tall, willowy, she can wear a binliner and look good.  So I've made this romantic and somewhat shabbily elegant ensemble for her.

The pattern is now available:

In my Etsy shop:

My Craftsy store:

And right here on the blog: (Via Sellfy)

Etsy will charge EU customers VAT (This does not affect America or other non-EU countries).  I always recommend people to look in my Craftsy store anyway, as the prices fluctuate, due to the international exchange rates.  I always suggest comparing prices.

If you wish to buy directly from me, I can supply a PayPal invoice and email the pattern to you within 24 hours.  Usually it will be faster than that, I'm just allowing for the potential differences in time zones.

Evangeline Ghastly sewing pattern

 Harem pants look great, and I've long wanted to make some.  I can see Ellowyne getting a pair of these sometime too.   they're really quite easy to make.

I've added a leotard - which is optional.  If you're using brightly dyed or dark fabrics on your doll, I really do advise some protection for staining.   The leotard serves that purpose, and I recomment tights too, if your harem pants are dark or bright.  SSP-031, also available in my various outlets, will fit this Evangeline body.

Evangeline sewing pattern

Next, a skirt to layer over the pants.  I've use all viscose fabrics for this ensemble.  It's heavy, slinky and drapes well.   It can be a bit slinky to sew, but I find pinning and basting all those awkward bits makes it a doddle.

Evangeline sewing pattern

And finally the long swing tunic.   I've added these cute gathered pockets to mine, but the tunic will look lovely without them - if you don't fancy tackling them on your first try.

I love 'Dreamstate' Evie.  She's so pretty.

Evangeline sewing pattern

Besides all the dolly things I have in my head, I've also been beavering away at art and some more of those pretty accessories for peoples.  It's always nice to have lots of ideas - much better than going through artists block, or a dry spell, but I swear my head is fit to burst. And I wish there were more hours in the day!

So much to make, so little time.

...And half of me wants to make Evie a binliner dress just to prove a point.


Sunday, 11 September 2016

Things and stuff.

Now I'm actually working at this for my livelihood, it's terrifying. Seriously.   Being self-employed and on a tiny income scares the proverbial out of me on a daily basis.  But... on another level it's somewhat empowering.

I don't have any of those awkward-to-deal-with colleagues.  (And really, I'v had to deal with some toxic workmates in the past.)  No boss, whether nasty or nice.  And I get to do something I really enjoy and am good at.   While I believe everyone should have the chance to do something they really want to do, I do realise there are plenty of people who don't, or can't, for whatever reason.  

So yes, I think I wouldn't change it.  I think I'm where I want to be.  And it's beginning to have a positive effect on my mental health.  I feel less depressed these days - and mornings are usually pretty tough for me, just to get myself moving.  My housemates say I've been more cheerful and much perkier lately.  The anxiety remains, and that's intense at times, almost crippling, but on a bad day I can actually take a rest, or nap, or pick up something therapeutic which isn't 'work'.

Hmm,  well I didn't mean to blather on in quite the way I have. It's a meandering route to the purpose of this post.   I've been thinking of things to do, to add to my little micro-business.   I trained formally in art, specialising in textiles, and I can do more than just sew dolly clothes. Much as I LOVE doing that,  I have been working seven days a week on my swing patterns and dolly fashions.  I decided I needed my weekends off, like regular folks, but the thing is - all I want to do is make stuff, or be creative. I get WAY much more enjoyment out of sewing, painting, or crafting than I do from taking the day out to watch TV.  I don't socialise because my agoraphobia is really a social phobia. I hang out with my housemates and we have a laugh.  They're awesome and made of the epic win, but I don't like mixing with people any more than that.

So. The weekends have been spent away from dolly things, but still in the creative vein. I had so much fun with finding things to make, and I have all these ideas crammed into my head now, that I'm going to be adding more things to my Etsy store before my head bursts. Hopefully.  Actual handmade things.   I  h o p e  they'll sell and supplement my income a bit.  I get very quiet weeks when the patterns don't sell, so I need to be a bit more productive.

With all this in mind, I bashfully include pics of some of the things I've been working on. Accessories for proper human-sized people.  Not little plastic ones.

So far I've worked out a pattern for fingerless gloves in soft stretchy jerseys,  hair barrettes and fabric cuff bracelets - both in  in applique and straightforward sewing with lovely fabrics.  I've also got plans for some make-up bags, pencil cases etc, and even some art.  All exquisitely made little items and gifts. I have a few more ideas too, but won't list them here, or I'll feel pressured and will be too freaked out to make them.

(There's the rub.  If I say I'm thinking of doing something people are really kind and encourage me, but with my anxiety my brain translates it into pressure!)

Any old hoo, here's a couple of pics of some of the items I'll be adding to my Etsy store.

Here are some cuffs and hair barrettes.  I have a pile more since taking these, so I'll have some pretty and varied stock items to list on Etsy. (I think  if you click on these pictures you can enlarge them.)

And some more barrettes. Some of these will be stick barrettes (I have yet to make the sticks, but I have it covered) or they'll have french hairslide blanks attached to them.  These are SO MUCH FUN to make.

They're also stiffened, and are flexible. I don't use card, as it folds and creases, eventually deteriorating inside the layers of fabric;  but what I do use is a trade secret! An environmentally friendly one at that.

Mostly I suck at everything, but I know I can sew.  I can sew like the wind.  And very neatly.  These items won't be cheap throwaway things. They're all beautifully hand finished.  Most are hand sewn all the way through (only the applique itself is done by machine) and I sew all my bias bindings by hand.

Here's how fabulous my hand sewing is, right...  first my backstitch: (So hard to get good close-up pictures.)

And this is the reverse side of my backstitch.  Tricky to keep neat, but I'm very happy with this.

I'm not the kind of person to go blowing my own trumpet. I get really shy when praised, but I can sew incredibly well, and if that helps to sell my work, then all the better.  Sometimes you have to big yourself up a bit.

I've also renewed my relationship with my beautiful sewing machine.  I've discovered the joys of applique again. My gorgeous, GORGEOUS, Brother AS 10 isn't the top of the range, but it sews beautifully and I have posted on Facebook confessing that I kiss it goodnight when it gets put away.   Which I totally do.   I haven't named it yet though.

But that's probably only a matter of time.

My housemate inspired me to try applique. She's an artist too and she made a fabulous  sunrise banner for her daughter to take to the V festival.   She gave me a bag of scraps from her project and I made them into a cuff bracelet.  It's so pretty, I'll have a hard time parting with it.

Here's my applique, the first I tried in YEARS.  But my lovely sewing machine enabled me to make a really neat job of it. I love it when it's still at the messy stage.    I must try to do some 'messy' art soon.

And here it is trimmed up a bit, and i'm applying the binding. I don't like machine sewing the binding.  With hand sewing, you have perfect control, and I'm borderline OCD, definitely obsessive,  so it's a fab outlet for my strange little foibles.

I'll show the finished item in another post.

In the meantime, here's a piece of art I just had to get out of my system. I took the week off to produce this, and had a couple of tantrums with it, but  a lot of fun too. I love to problem-solve and make artistic decisions.   This piece was a bit of a challenge and I learned a couple of new tricks in the making.  It's a 10" by 10" square, padded, and mounted on an artists  canvas stretcher.

The smaller heart is actually a brooch, and can be removed from the piece. It's sooo pretty,  and was such fun to make, that I might make some more.

This is a shot of the larger heart in the process of being made.   The applique for this was lovely to sew. I like to work small hence the dolly stuff, and I did once have my own business making and selling jewellery.  things like beadwork and silversmithing stood me in good stead for a lot of small scale work.  One of my favourite things to do, is to make smaller standalone elements to add to my artwork - like this larger heart.

So that's it for now.  I have some art that I've always wanted to try selling. I'm in the process of finishing things off, evaluating them, staring at them, and patting my sewing machine in passing.  But I will be photographing and listing them soon.  

Hope you enjoyed the show and tell!