Monday, 13 September 2010

Gibbous Inspired Corset Makeover

I have volunteered at a new kind of Oxfam shop called Reworked for Oxfam. The idea is that we take donated clothes and rework them to be sold, sometimes because in their current state no one will buy them or sometimes just to add a bit more monetary value. This means that we are let loose on a varied collection of clothes to do whatever we think will be cool with them. Which is beyond awesome and hugely terrifying. "what will sell?" echos round my tiny head and I had a near break down on my first day from the sheer volume of choices awaiting me.
 So I began with a simple (!) project. I took a slightly scruffy white corset (a gentle, underwear one, not a dominatrix one) and tried to make it more Gibbous inspired. (Have a drool over at Gibbous fashions for gorgeous ideas and out the box fashion thinking).
 Basically I used lots of donated lace and ribbon to cover the corset in interesting textures and then used the sewing machine to add more texture.
 This was surprisingly mentally difficult for me since I like finished edges and neat seams etc and this calls for a more free feel, a kind of relaxed, whatever comes, approach. I am not a relaxed, whatever kind of person :)
I'd love any advice or ideas and criticisms so please leave me a message below this post if you'd like.
I may now go off and dream of lace....

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Single Sock Dino Tutorial

Thank you to all the people who requested this tutorial, your encouragement made it happen!
So here is my favourite soft hearted beast for your sewing pleasure.

To begin we need to gather supplies:
  • A pair of scissors
  • A sock (This one is a bit thread bare and woolly and needs a new lease on life)
  • Some red (or, really, any colour) felt
  • 2 buttons for eyes
  • Some coloured thread for sewing together and making his face
  • Some filling ( I used standard fibre fill, but even scraps of fabric would do)
Firstly, we need to cut the sock:

In this pattern the heel of the sock becomes his nose/face/muzzle (what is appropriate for a T-Rex?)
The part towards the toe of the sock is going to be the top of his head and the part towards the ankle is his body. The body part is about twice as long as the head part but don't be too worried about measurements etc.
Next we're gonna sew up the sock at the body hole.

To do this I turn the tube with the heel of the sock inside out and then run a longish stitch very simply around the lip of the tube, then gather closed. Once I've gathered I stitch across the opening a few times to seal it securely. Again, this is the part he will sit on so it doesn't have to be perfect.

Turn the sock right way round again and stuff with filling. You want to create the rough shape of the filling in your hands before you stuff it into the sock. This makes less lumpy bits. If you do need to add more filling, try making a space in the middle of the already existing filling and inserting the new in there. Um, like a pie filling :).
Now he's starting to look like something. There are two methods for the next bit.
The hole on the top of his head needs to be closed. You can 1) gather the hole closed like we did the other side or 2) do the slightly more elaborate, but I think neater, finish below.
If you do decide to just gather remember to pull the hole closed slowly and tuck the unfinished ends into the gather as you go (else he'll have a weird lumpy, sticky up bit)
This is the method I use:

Hold the toy facing away from you (to the left of the picture above). Pinch the hole closed so it runs in a line from the nose direction to along his spine. In the middle of this long opening make a stitch or two to hold in shape.

Now stitch about a thumbs width away from this holding stitch like in the picture above, then tuck the remaining edges of the hole back towards were the needle is. (In the picture above his nose is facing left and his bum is facing right) Stitch along these two new joins to close this end of the hole.

Repeat on the other side. There's no photo of this but to create his chin you need to sew a running stitch along his front, just underneath the heel of the sock, and from about ear to ear (If he had any!). (Kinda eye where you'd like the fold of his chin to be). Pull on this running stitch to gather it. The photo below shows how the sock dents under his chin but is smooth up his spine to the top of his head

You can also see in this picture how the hole that was at the top of the sock is towards his crown.
Next we need to cut the remaining sock bits to make his arms (sorry, claws) and his tail. The small bits to the left are cut from the leftover sock towards the shin and are folded double. ( the larger bit on top of the left group is just to show the ribbed elastic top of the sock and is not used). The group to the right is the original toe of the sock. I have cut from about the middle of the opening and gently curved the cut to make a pointy tail. The piece on the very right hand side will not be used.

Turn the tail and the arm pieces inside out and stitch into tubes with one closed end. Turn right way around and stuff gently.

Attach the arms and the tail to the body, tucking in the unfinished ends as you go.

Next we cut the felt for the scales. A word on cutting the scales- if you're gonna make more than one of these begin by cutting a rectangle of fleece and cutting the diagonals down the centre of this rectangle, never quite touching the outside edge of the rectangle. That way you get two scale pieces instead of one and a whole lot of useless triangles.

Sew the scales to the dinosaur. You can see how I sew on the scales in this photo.

He should look something like this handsome boy at this stage.

Next we attach his eyes- I liked traditional beady eyes but bigger crazy ones would be cute too.

Finally his face! I just free hand embroider a big toothy grin and some french knot nostrils on mine. If you'd like a bit more symmetry (which mine are seriously lacking!) then use some dress makers chalk, or wash away fabric pen to sketch on a mouth. If you don't know how to make a french knot, the internest will teach you or just sew two little crosses or circles etc.

That's it! Congratulations you've just made the world a more dangerous and cuddly place!
(P.S. Don't feel like sewing? Click here to buy them in the Little Black Teapot Shop )

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Thursday, 2 September 2010

Single Sock Bunny

I have been so overwhelmed by all the sweet messages and encouragement since the tutorial for a Single Sock Dog was featured on One Pretty Thing. Thank you to everyone.
Because of all the requests I'm working on a tutorial for the Single Sock Dino, but before this I made this little fellow over the weekend.

I made a very soft yarn pompom for his tail (I think its called teddy bear yarn and its so ridiculously soft it may be sinful :) ) and used pink flowery corduroy for the underside of his feet and ears. Originally he had a mouth but I decided I preferred this better since I wanted the pearl button nose to be the focus.
The flower is courtesy of the last gasps of my garden before winter comes to our corner of England and I forget what sun, flowers (and bunnies!) look like!

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