I’ve moved! AHHH!

I’m super excited about moving my business and starting a new creative enterprise. We hear a lot about “Maker Spaces” in the creative circles I run around in, and I’m so proud to say I’ve started one with an amazing partner that has the same kind of vision I have! I’m happy to announce that The Productivity Parlour for Artful Living will be holding classes and events starting in November 2016, at 741 St. Helens Ave, Tacoma, WA 98402.

What does this mean?!? It means that instead of spending my days sad about how I don’t have time to make things, now MY ENTIRE JOB IS TO MAKE THINGS! You have no idea how thrilled that makes me. From head to toe. It isn’t just because I get to make things either, but potentially I get to help other people make things too! A Maker space is exactly that- a space that people get to create in. The Productivity Parlour for Artful Living will be a textile one. A space dedicated to textile crafts.

I don’t know how familiar you are with textiles dear reader, but that is a HUGE range of activities. From working on regular clothing, (alterations and repair) to creating grand ball gowns and wedding dresses, cosplays, historical items, and more. The potential customer base is as varied as the activities possible. From folks who need to explore alterations because they aren’t a standard fashion size and shape, to people within the varied world of re-enactment and multi-faceted fandoms, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of people who no longer have the basic skills they need to make clothing and costumes. Single moms who want to try and save money by repairing and altering their clothing, maybe someone who is attempting to dress as the gender they identify as but their body doesn’t yet match… there are so many different people who need what we want to provide, and I’m so happy to be doing this.

Talking about it makes me happy. Sitting in the space designing classes and reaching out to different communities to find amazing instructors, these things make me so happy! I hope people join me in creating things. I can’t wait to help others discover the joys of sewing and other textile crafts that I love.

Costume “Rules”

I always laugh about how people talk about my “off season” times at the costume shop. While it IS true that I don’t have hundreds of people walking into the store during the majority of the year like I do during October, there is no true OFF season anymore. The economy is getting better (or so they say) and people want to have themed parties, attend conventions, dance at masquerade balls, and parade about at historical re-enactments and faires year-round. And why not? Costumes are fun!!!

There are no rules as far as costumes go, no matter what people have told you. There are merely guidelines depending on the groups you may be spending time with. While you may find groups like the Society for Creative Anachronism, the 501st, or those like them, remember one important thing. If you aren’t having fun with them, there isn’t much point in being there. Don’t let someone who has to be “correct” ruin your day. They’ll puff themselves up being right, and eventually they’ll find themselves alone while you’ve moved on to better things.

That goes for more casual affairs too. If you get excited at the thought of being dressed from head to toe in the costume of your choice, and you are invited to a party, GO ALL OUT! If you are shopping with a friend and they aren’t into it, don’t let that stop you from enjoying yourself. I can’t tell you how often I’ve had a pair of people in the store and one person was happy and excited until the other acted like a jerk. It drives me crazy.

Go out. Find your happy. Dress like a pirate to go grocery shopping like I do occasionally. Why not? Worst that can happen is you end up on “the people of Walmart” website. And if you are wearing a Mandalorian mask no one will know its you.

Had a blast at Emerald City Comic-con 2015!

So, been recovering from con-crud as we all lovingly call it. Eating gluten by mistake made me miserable and open to catching a cold, and then working Norwescon 38 the following weekend didn’t help. Hey, when they pack 80,000 people into a convention center, you are bound to catch something! I had a good time though. Didn’t get to see as much as I wanted because we didn’t go Friday like usual, and I volunteered Sunday with the 501st for over 4 hours (leaving directly after so that Manbeast could watch WrestleMania… sigh) but it was worth it. I got to meet Tom Hodges, but most importantly, Anthony Daniels (He is so incredibly funny and awesome!) Manbeast volunteered with me too, and I must say, our RSO outfits looked awesome! Here we are with my friend Nikki!

RSO Emerald City Comiccon 2015
Saturday we spent with some amazing friends of ours. Dena was a steampunk vampire hunter, and I was her vampire. I loved the subtle light/dark looks we had, even though I was the evil one, I tried to wear my lightest colored steampunk costume pieces, while hers was a lot of darker pieces, even the rosary and sword were dark. It was glorious! I loved it.

Steampunk Vampire Comiccon 2015luring me in with her sweet blood, little did I know that the hunter had a silver chain in her hands!

Steampunk Vampire 2 Comiccon 2015The holy silver chain! HOW IT BURNSSSS!

Steampunk Vampire 3 Comiccon 2015
She pierces my heart with her wooden sword! Curses!

Steampunk Vampire 1 Comicon 2015 Yes, cleavage happens. Its called a corset.

I hope everyone else loved Comic-con as much as I did! I will post photos of the final Steampunk costume and a more in-depth look at the bustle skirt that I made for my friend Taylor’s wedding in my next post! (I’m eagerly awaiting the photos from the wedding! I loved my hair and my tiny black top hat from Brigid’s Whispers, you have no idea…)

If I didn’t make my costume, most of the pieces I wore came from the costume shop I own/work at, or from other local businesses and vendors at Ren Faire’s and Conventions.

 

Comic-con is coming up fast!

So I’ll be at Emerald City Comic-con again this year, yay! I received my badge for Saturday in the mail, I’m so happy! I’m volunteering for the 501st booth as my ISO gal Sunday too (maybe a good group shot photo of all us Pacific Northwest gals at the con). Double yay! I’m currently working on a steampunk costume for my friend Taylor’s wedding the weekend AFTER Comic-con (NORWESCON! WHERE GEORGE R. R. FREAKIN MARTIN WILL BE! SOOOO EXCITED! AHHHH), so I’m going to finish the costume for ECCC, so that I can wear it and test it out. Special note here: You should ALWAYS do a test-run by actually putting on the entire outfit when dealing with a special-costume for a special day… it saves a lot of heartaches later. My project progress will be posted soon hopefully! I’m making a bustle-style skirt for this, using gold and blue, should be interesting! I’ll post photos and which pattern I’m using and ALL the things. Happy March! (Woah, this year is almost 1/4 over! Crazy!!!)

New Tablet Woven Band from Applesies and Fox Noses!

tablet woven band Ladders

Decided to make the 15th band called “Ladders” in Applesies and Fox Noses! This band is a replica of a Finnish band found in the Kaukola Kekomaki graveyard and dating from the Carelian Iron Age. The band has 12 cards (6 for the borders and 6 for the central pattern) and I used two colors, dark and light purple in Cascade 220 wool fingering weight yarn. Finished width of band is 1/2 an inch.

Hoof Covers for Santa’s Reindeer!

So we covered how to make Santa’s footwear more stylish, what about his trusty companions? Rudolph needed some new hooves this year, so I made a set using a pair of boot covers from the Santa Suit to create a pattern.
WP_20141119_007So you remember that bottom portion? I cut the rest of the leg portion off, cut up the back, snipped the elastic, and laid it flat. Since I want them to be able to open in the back, I extended it a bit so that they would overlap on the back side of the foot. I also made it long enough to fold the back side over once so that I could put sew-on Velcro there and make it look more finished.

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Gather all your materials. You need some nice heavy-duty fabric (a yard should be plenty, but you can take your pattern piece to the fabric store with you to make sure you get enough), I picked a dark colored vinyl with a soft suede underside, darker than the fur of the reindeer suit. You need black Velcro to secure the back, double-sided bias tape to finish off the edges, and thin elastic to keep the “hoof” secure to the foot. Here are pictures of the fabric and bias tape. One packet was enough with this little bit left over:

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Cut out your vinyl piece, and fold in half, right side together. Sew a straight line in the middle of the front of the piece. Deer have split hooves, so this makes the two “toes” of the hoof:

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Next you need to sew on the Velcro to the back. fold the back like so:

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Sew the edge close to the fold first. I used heavy duty needles again, because the vinyl and Velcro are pretty thick. After the edge near the fold, I sewed the other side. Remember you need one piece of Velcro on the outside, and the opposite piece on the inside. I made the two hooves opposite each other as well. Trim the extra fabric from the edge of the Velcro.

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Now that you have your Velcro attached, and the backs can be fastened closed, you need to attach the bias tape. Fold the end over so you don’t have any issues with fraying, and pin it down and around. Use the elastic on the old boot cover to see where you need to attach the elastic. As you are sewing the bias tape you need to make sure you catch both the top and bottom of the tape to make a clean, finished look. When you reach the elastic don’t be afraid to double or even triple stitch over it to secure it.

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Do the same for the top of the shoe-cover as the bottoms. Fold under the ends and make sure you catch both sides!

There you have it, two shoe covers for your reindeer costume! Full mascot costumes will have furry legs that come down and cover up the tops, leaving you with split-hooves.

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(My nails are Espionage cosmetic’s wraps again! this time in “literary”)

Boot Toppers For Santa

So you are interested in being a Santa! You’ve grown the beard, bought the plush suit. Sweet! What did it come with? Jacket, Pants, Belt, hat, and… Boot-covers? Oh Santa… this won’t do! Do you have a pair of black boots, but they don’t have fur? Never fear! I am going to show you how to make these:
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into this ensemble:

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in just a few easy steps!

First, you want to trim off the bottom portion of the boot-cover. I cut it so that there was about 6 inches of black pleather material left. You want to leave this so that the boot topper has sufficient material INSIDE your boot to stay in place once you slide your leg inside it. Fold the faux fur up and out of the way and measure from where the faux fur ends and the vinyl begins.

WP_20141119_005Measure six inches and use a rotary cutter and ruler to make an even cut across. Press down hard enough to cut through both layers of the boot-cover.  WP_20141119_006WP_20141119_007

You can discard the bottom portion or use the vinyl for another project if you wish, I used the portion that covers the foot to make a pattern for a foot-covering I made later. (Spoilers, that will be my next holiday project that I post!)

Next you want to lay the boot you will be inserting these toppers into on top of what is left, and give yourself about an inch out for a seam allowance. The boot cover is much wider than your boot, so you will be trimming off the back portion, and then re-sewing it.

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Lay your ruler down and use your rotary cutter again. Faux fur is pretty thick so be sure to press down firmly.

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Once that is trimmed away, turn your piece so that right sides of the vinyl are together. If you want to sew the boot-toppers with a machine, use a heavy-duty needle. These are the ones I used. I hand-stitched the faux fur though, it always jams my machine. If your sewing machine is heavy-duty enough you can use it for both parts. Just remember that you have to turn the boot cover and sew the faux fur up so that the seam will be hidden when its turned down over the top.

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As you can see, it makes a nice clean seam, just be careful, vinyl likes to tear, so sew up the back once and be sure to get as close to the fur as possible.

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So with needle and thread I backstitched up the rest of the back. I turned the boot topper so the right side of the black vinyl is out and the furry part of the faux fur is together and then did a running stitch. When you are done, stick the boot-top into your boot.

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Fold down the fur and there you are! The Santa I made these for needed something to go into his rubber boots for outdoor trips, in case of mud. I hope my project helps you too!

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 *** My fingernails are from espionagecosmetics.com, if you were wondering 😉