Tuesday, 3 February 2015

2015 Iron Craft Challenge - #2 Love is in the Air


The second Iron Craft challenge for 2015 was to make something for someone you love. The challenge was so open, and since most of my crafts are made for people I love, I could have made almost anything! But since a new busking dress was already on the cards for the little miss and dreaming about the design has been keeping me up at night, I figured that's what I'd make.

The little miss's last busking dress is getting ridiculously short on her, but with school starting next week I don't think she'll be doing much busking in the short term, so I wanted to make something that she would be able to wear as an everyday dress as well as busk in. And I wanted to make sure it had some growing room in it. This dress gave me the opportunity to try out a new crochet collar design and some Celtic knot applique - both of which might appear in some form on the next Irish dancing solo dress I make...

I usually draft my own patterns, but for this dress I used a vintage pattern I had laying around - Simplicity 9796 Girls Princess Seam Dress. Possibly my favourite thing about this pattern is that it's so old it comes in regular and 'chubby' sizes - lol, gotta love the 70's! I altered it by leaving off the sleeves, making the neckline higher, adding a crochet collar and Celtic knotted butterfly applique on the front, and by special request from the little miss I made a sash for the back. The collar was made using the Pan pattern by Krisstin Hrund. I attached it to the dress so that instead of doing up in the front, the open ends are secured at the zipper. It's my favourite collar I've made so far and super easy too!

 
















There is a lot of love in this dress... I love the little miss, and she loves anything Irish (especially anything Irish dancing), I loved the process of making this dress, and both the little miss & I love the finished product!



Friday, 23 January 2015

Scrap Fabric Key Tags - Tutorial


These key tags are super easy and quick to make; and best of all they're a great way to make use of those fabric scraps you've been hording for ages (or is that just me?).

What you'll need:
  • Scraps of fabric
    I use a printed fabric for the 'front' and plain thermal backed* fabric for the 'back'. But you could probably use any non-stretch fabric for both the front & back.
    *I have a lot of these scraps as I often use this type of fabric to line the bags & baskets I make. 
  • Stiff Pellon, Buckram or similar
    I have scraps of this stuff laying around as I use it for stiffening the skirts of my Irish dancing dresses, it is also commonly used in millinery. Basically you want something that's going to stop the fabric from being soft & floppy.
  • Ribbon
    You'll only need a little bit. I have found that grosgrain ribbon works best as regular satin ribbon can catch on the metal key-ring and pill a bit.
  • Key-ring
    This one's pretty obvious.
  • Pins, thread, scissors & sewing machine
    Again, all the obvious stuff.

  1. Start out by selecting a fabric scrap that you want to use as your front. I tend to use a picture from my fabric prints, but any pattern you want to use will work fine.

  2. Cut the fabric into the shape & size you the key tag to be.

  3. Trace around the fabric shape on the stiffener and wrong side of the backing fabric and cut them out.

  4. Pin all 3 pieces together with the stiffener in the middle, and the front & back fabrics with right sides facing out.

  5. Fold your ribbon scrap in half (right side out if it has one) and melt the cut edges with a lighter or lit match - this will stop it from fraying and also helps the ends stay together nicely while sewing it all together.

  6. Insert the ribbon at the top of your key tag between the backing and stiffening layers & pin.

  7. Using a straight stitch on your sewing machine, sew all the layers together around as close to the edges as possible.




  8. Trim any edges where they layers don't match up to ensure there are no layers sticking out from the others.

  9. Using a zig-zag stitch on your machine, stitch all the way around your key tag going across the ribbon as shown. I set the machine stitch length to around .4 and the width to around 4.0.


  10. Tie off & cut any loose threads.
  11. Insert  your key ring to the top of the ribbon.
  12. Enjoy your new key tag!

Note: you don't have to use your new key tags just for your keys... The little miss puts them on her bags as zipper pulls and decorations. Since I've used plain backing fabric we put her name on them with fabric markers too.

You can see that these are very well used by the little miss!

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

DIY Sparkle Socks (Bling-ing Irish dancing poodle socks - tutorial)

So anyone who is (or has) an Irish dancer knows that you can never have enough bling, including on your socks! The little miss' sparkle socks were starting to look not so white, and although they made her feel even more dressed up wearing them, you couldn't actually see much (if any) sparkle from them when she was on the stage. This isn't really surprising as the sparkles on them were fairly small* cheap plastic/acrylic gems. I knew I could do better and decided to make my own...
* The stones were size ss12 to be precise. That size of gems was standard on socks at the time we bought them, but it looks like larger stones are now more common.

After deciding on the size stones I wanted to use, I counted on the socks how many I would need, went to my source for crystals, and calculated the cost of all of my options... Swarovski crystals probably would have provided the best amount of sparkle, but the cost was rather much higher than I was willing to spend on socks. Preciosa weren't much cheaper, so I decided on Arabesque. My preferred crystal supplier has only recently started supplying Arabesque crystals which are marketed as a low cost option, but they still have a nice sparkle - just not as much as the Swarovski or Preciosa options. I looked at the gems on the little miss' store bought socks and figured even the low cost option would be better than what she was wearing - especially since I was going up a size (actually two sizes).

I wanted the crystals on the socks to be clear crystal rather than the AB coated ones, which now also seems to be standard at the places I usually buy from. I went with size ss20 and I'm really pleased with the outcome. I used just over 50 stones per sock (keep in mind these are size petite socks for tiny children's feet).

So enough of my babbling, here's how I did them...

First I got some scrap polar fleece fabric* and rolled it to around the same width as the little miss' calves, wrapped the rolled fabric in baking paper and taped it in place, and pulled the socks up over them. The fabric was so that the socks would still stretch to fit her when the glue was dry, and the baking paper was to stop the glue from going through the socks and sticking to the fabric.
*You don't need to use polar fleece, anything you could roll up & fit in the socks should work.
I double checked the placement of the stones. I wanted them to look like this:


And then I started gluing*.
I squeezed out dots of the glue where I wanted the stones to be, I got into a rhythm of dabbing on a row of glue dots at a time and then pressing the stones onto the glue.
*I use Gem-tac glue.


I worked my way around each sock, and then left them overnight to dry.


The next day I took the 'stuffing' out of them and voila!


They've been worn a few times now and they haven't lost a stone yet. :)


Tuesday, 20 January 2015

2015 Iron Craft Challenge - #1 Crochet Strawberries Headband

This year I'm taking part in the Iron Craft Challenge over at Just Crafty Enough. Basically a new challenge is given each fortnight and then you post a photo of your completed craft on the group Flickr page. I was looking to do a weekly/monthly type craft challenge and a friend of mine who has participated in Iron Craft in the past recommended it to me. I am so excited!!!!!!!

As this year is the 4th anniversary of the challenge running, the first challenge of the year was to create something around the theme of 4th anniversary gifts -  either traditional, which is fruit or flowers, or modern which is appliances. After a little bit of thought (and some Pinterest browsing) I came up with this crocheted strawberries headband.


I based the strawberries on this strawberry pattern (but downsized it slightly), and the blossom was based on the first part of this simple flower with the addition of a button sewn into the middle. I attached them to a long chain stitch that wrapped around the little miss's head three times and made a loop in the end opposite to the flower so that it could hook over the button.


I can not wait until tomorrow when the second craft challenge is posted...

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Spoonflower Custom Made Irish Dancing Fabric

Last year I discovered Spoonflower and I am in love... For anyone who doesn't know, Spoonflower allows you to design your own fabric as well as order fabric designed by other uses (so long as the user has made the design available for purchase). Since Irish dancing themed fabric isn't something that's readily available at your everyday craft store, and I couldn't find any designs on the site that were quite right, I just had to make some! You can check out my designs here.

I'm really happy with how they turned out. Since I didn't actually know what I wanted to make with it all, I started out by ordering a meter of each of my first few design. I started out by making my daughter an applique top and pencil case.



I then made up some samples of other items (pencil cases, accessory bags, key rings, shoe bags & pajamas), opened up orders from other dancers in our Irish dancing school, and put another order in to Spoonflower. I wasn't in it to make money off the dancers, just enough to cover my costs and a little extra for my time. I really just wanted to offer them the chance to get a special Irish dancing thing. The pajamas were by far the most popular.




I've experimented with a few other items with the remaining fabric, and have since listed them on my felt store, with hopefully even more to come in the near future...


 





Saturday, 10 January 2015

Welcome to 2015

Looking back at the past year I see that I haven't added to this blog since May 2014... it's now 2015. Oops! I'm not much of a new years resolutions person, but even if I was I can't say I'd resolve to post more in the coming year... we'll just have to see how things go. ;)

Once again I've been doing far more actual crafting this past year than writing about it. I expect this coming year will be similar, with the addition of joining a craft challenge group Iron Craft 2015 over at Just Crafty Enough. I was looking for new inspiration and something to keep me creative and thinking outside of the box. At this point I'm thinking it would be quite possible for me to pop up a quick post showing my craft challenge creation, or maybe a round up every month or two (a new challenge comes out fortnightly), but again we'll just have to wait and see.

But for now I thought I'd whack up a whole lot of photos of a few of my favourite crafts from this past year. I may get inspired to do a write up on some of them in the future, so if there's anything you see that you'd like to know more about leave me a comment and I'll see what I can do.

And happy 2015 everyone!!!!!

Jet Pack
I made a handful of these for the school gala
& they sold out in record time!

R2D2 Crochet Beanie


New dancing bag for the little guy -
a Star Wars drawstring backpack.  
 
Pencil cases.
Great to have around to add to birthday presents etc,
and an excellent way to use up scraps of fabric.

The little miss had a Frozen themed birthday party this year.

Making marshmallow Olaf's at said Frozen party.

I discovered the joy of Spoonflower!
A selection of items I created using custom made Irish dancing fabric. 

Kitty Scoodie
A scarf, hat & pockets all in one!

Crochet Ripple Blanket
A special gift for my Mom.

Toothless fingerless gloves.

The little miss really got into making friendship bracelets this year -
she's done various knotted ones as well as many on her rainbow loom.
 
The little miss learned how to use the sewing machine, and did a pretty good job too!

I've done a lot of crocheting for a great organisation called Little Sprouts.
They give out baby packs to families in need, and these cowls were
included in some of the packs as a little gift especially for the mums.

DANCING! So much dancing!
I made the little guy a new dancing vest and a new busking costumes for the little miss.

Lots of new PJ's have been made.

Lollipop lips & mustaches.
These were another hit at last years school gala and are
great party favours or just for fun treats. 


Both kids got new curtains, Star Wars for the little guy and 'fancy'
green & gold ones for the little miss - hers were a bit too tricky to get a good photo of though.

The little guy had a How to Train Your Dragon
party this year.

Toothless costume for the birthday boy!

I made this crocheted collar as a practice in case I decide
to put one on the little miss' next dancing dress.
I love how it turned out and had to find a use for it!


A king/knight's costume for the little guy.

Cookies!
Christmas dresses & clovers for the end of year dancing show and Angry Bird cookies for a bake sale.

Many more things were made throughout the year, and I'm sure many more will be made this year. Hopefully I manage to document a few more in the next little while though.