Sunday, July 10, 2011

Upscale Crafty Apron

Want to make something awesome for your crafty friend, super mommy, or best chef? This handy multi pocket apron is super stylish, slightly upscale and just as useful as your usual kind of apron.
I sew, but I don't use patterns and my seams aren't always perfect....but with this crafty apron that's not a problem, because we want our finished product to be embellished, patchworked and slightly tattered. Best of all this is all made out of scrap fabric and leftover trim!
Materials include various small squares and rectangles of fabric, cotton, rayon, light canvas etc. Ribbon, lace, tassles, rick rack, seam binding will be used to trim the apron. Don't have any? Fabric stores sometimes have really inexpensive "grab bags".
The main body of the apron should be 25-27"long and 12-14" wide.
Strap & top binding approx 3" wide piece 72" long
Not a hard and fast rule, that's just the approx measures of the old regular apron I used for a template. I like this size, it hits me at mid thigh, and the pockets aren't too low.
I happen to have a bunch of light upholstery/canvas fabrics that I got at a fabric barn clearance sale of their 18" sample squares. So to make up the body of the apron I used two pieces. An 8" piece and 18" piece. Sew these together first I off set the contrasting piece for interest. You could also just the whole main body out of one piece as well.
The pockets can be various sizes. The apron I made for my friend had two big pockets, a little 6" x 4" in one corner and a tall pocket (spoon/scissors) on one side... The one I made myself 5 pockets! I imagine this coming in very handy at shows so I made a tall pocket, a large pocket, two phone/gadget pockets and little coin pocket (3" 1/2 x 3" 1/2). I just start cutting varies size rectangles and start placing them on my main body. I was lucky in that many of my fabrics had selvage edges, I just zigzag stitched right over them. You could fold and iron them under.. I'm not that patient! I like to keep ironing at a minimum.
Design the apron. Lay everything out first and pin together pieces that need to be sewn first. If you want to you should turn your mainbody edges under and sew them down (unless like me you plan to cover them with trim) You can iron and sewed the strap onto main body first or last its your call. The strap piece will also cover the edges of the top of the apron and become the apron ties. I did iron this piece, turning the edges down 1/4" and ironing and then folding in half and ironing again. Find the middles of the main body and the strap and line up and pin together. The raw edge of the apron is sandwiched between the strap becomes a nice binding for the top.
Most important is to sew the little pockets on top of the big pockets,before sewing to the background. You can also take a larger piece and sew dividers into it and create smaller narrower pocket. I sewed a small inch of fabric (kind of a gusset) on the edges of large pocket and then tucked the bottom together to make the pocket stick out. Some embellishments need to be sewn on first, if they are on the top of the pocket. If its just trimming around the edges than that can be done after its sewn on. I actually sewed the pocket down...make sure not to sewn it shut! And sewing the trim on reinforces the pocket and beatifies at the same time.
I have a lot of frayed silk ribbons so I went to town sewing these around the edges in an effort to hide some of those ugly edges. I made couple of little appliques that I thought added to the whole piece. One of the aprons has a puffy heart in the corner, I cut the shape sewed it on the background, leaving a space for stuffing bit of polyfil and sewed it shut. I later ribboned around it. the zigzag and satin stitch is your friend. Experiment with textures and patterns, there's no wrong answer, some things I didn't think would work actually came out great.
These aprons can be sleek and modern, or patchwork and eclectic. Whoever gets them will love them!

Cut the pieces.

Pick your trim and pocket patches.

Design the layout. If two pieces, sew the main body together.

Iron the strap and sew to main body

Pin the pieces. Sew little pockets to larger pieces.

Embellish to your heart's content.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Summertime Sum-sum-sum timmeee!

Summer is my creative time. I can't do a lot of shows in the three digit Texas heat, last summer I felt so in my groove. I entered two contests...(I won one and got 4th in the other) I participated in the Peace Felt project. I taught myself new felting techniques and I taught myself how to dye... This summer I just feel like I might die... I've been suffering with a pinched nerve in my back since the middle of May. I'm slowly recovering. I've had to awake up and make some changes in my diet and habits. My husband has been with me every step of the way. We got a new memory foam mattress to help my spine. Sadly though, I'm not up for the serious Nuno felting tasks I did last summer. I'd get up at 6am set up my table on my porch gather my materials and get to felting.
I am still being creative, I just have pain as a constant companion so I have to stop and start. I can't needle felt for too long because I just can't sit. Maybe I should make some Nuno felt at least I'm on my feet for that and moving around seems to be better for my spine.
Anyhow... I loved my Spring shows I did.. I'm also becoming quite adept at small wet felting projects. I had a very successful Renaissance Faire show in May. One memorable occasion was at my friend Amie's tiny hair salon one, stormy Friday, that turned into an impromptu jam session. I'm not a musician, but I'm never bored... I had a travel sized bag of equipment with wools and bubble wrap. Asked by my young friend Michael I let him design some felted medicine bags which I felted and sewed later for him. It was a blast.. I have realized that I really like teaching people felting... it the thought of an actual class terrifies me however.. Its just a lot of responsibility.
I'm going to get my mojo back into full swing..its not lost. I'm going to restart my blog and publish more things. If only for myself so I can remember how I did some stuff. I have a new camera and I can't wait to take some pictures! Its got auto stabilizer for my shaky hands... I'm posting new stuff all the time on Etsy!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Cheshire Cat

My Super
Psychedelic Cheshire Cat Won First Place in the Living Felt Art Doll contest!
At the end of August I entered a contest sponsored by Living Felt; a Alice in Wonderland themed contest. I was so excited because I wanted to create really ambitious piece for it. Earlier this year I found the wonderful products at Living Felt and I loved how fast their Merino Cross batts felt up. Thats when was doing the Troll Heads in February.. Then I had also found this really awesome neon wool that glowed under blacklight dyed by a seller on Etsy (Zauberzeug) I've made some small little psychedelic critters . At first I just thought I'd do a disembodied Cheshire Cat's Head! Like a Troll Head..only a Cat. I was highly influenced by those comericals of the 3D movie where the Cheshire Cat is totally coming at you with glowing eyes! Silly me I had just imagined using that neon wool in the eyes. I actually made the head first, totally complete in itself. The head is felted on top of a soft foam ball. Then my brain was like no.. you should do a whole cat! So I had these huge football wet felted shaped globey things and at some point I wired the tail and covered it with purple felt. Its a this point I realized I'd mixed up the deadlines for some other things and had to go work on that stuff for a bit. My grinning Cat Face ball hung out with me for a while before I started working on it again. Unfortunately, sometimes when I'm really excited about a project I forget to stop and take work in progress pics. I made a lot of progress at this little Con that my friend Shawnna was at. I was just keeping her company and needle felting away on what looked like a white football with purple tail. I attached the head and the body and covered the whole thing during those exciting hours! At one point some dudes come up and tell me "Man, that thing is sick" in an admiring tone.. I replied and its not even finished yet, wait till I do the stripes! I used foam in the paws covered with core wool, then purple, then felted the neon on and the details of the paw pads. I made my husband hold my Chaucer Cat (my real Cheshire cat) upside down so I see his paw pads. The striping was the hardest part really, it was very tedious. But it was the most fun too. I'd like to say I made a plan and drew it all out before, but I didn't. I just let it flow... the stripes evolved in the best possible way. The tail was crazy because I had to follow the colorway and I almost ran out of green. :( I had so much fun creating such a large piece. I hoped, but really didn't plan on winning! Crazy!

Finished Peace Felt

So I finished felting the Felt Peace "Bound By Angels" wall hanging. I'm very happy with how it turned out! After rolling and fulling I let it dry and then decided to embellish a bit with some beads and ribbon. I had this wonderful strand of Mother of Pearl shell shards that reminded me of the luster of the mohair. Shells invoke the ocean
energy and love and that's Peace too! I made and se
wed by hand the channel for the dowel rod and then did this free-form bunching and gathering decorative ribbon along the top of the wall hanging, really just because I liked it. I plan to mail this off tomorrow to Canada and to my Peace Partner.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Peace Felt

I'm involved in a project that is exchanging felted pieces with other artists and hobbyists all over the world! Today is the International Day of Peace and we are supposed to create them today and then mail off our creations in the next week or so. Yesterday, I went to start my Peace Felt so that I could finish and send it off. I had so many ideas about what I could do or create that I was a little overwhelmed. I wanted to make everything and I wanted it to be perfect! I even was having my husband film a video of me creating it. But I kept getting bogged down. I had to pull off the wool over and over again. I finally got so frustrated with myself I had to have him stop filming. What was wrong? Then it hit me. I had to let go of my ego and my expectations. I thought about what is Peace and the hope of it and what can bring us all together when despite our human natures? Immediately I thought we are all bound together by angels... that we are all reaching across the void of hyperspace, across the oceans, across the continents to connect through our love of this particular art form. That spirit connects to us to each other. Then I thought about the wool itself. The animal that provides it, a sheep. The symbol of gentleness.. I think about end of war.. the lion and the lamb laying down together. Sheep allowed our ancestors to make clothes, shelter and have food. Its strength and warmth keep people going.. the fibers of it are so small yet when a little chemistry happens with some hot water and soap it turns into this enduring thing. Fragile seeming yet all touching each other and bound together by a force that seems almost magical. Peace is like that too. After that thought I just let go of what I wanted my piece to be and I let a higher power guide my creation. So my Peace Felt is called Bound by Angels. And as I finish it today I'm thinking of you Danielle.. my peace felt partner in Canada. Two souls connected by angels.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Wondercraft

Last summer four ladies banded together and started this great mobile boutique and here they are getting some local news recognition!
I have a few things on consignment there and I've volunteered a couple of times. Its just the most awesome concept ever!
(once again scroll down and pause the large green box so you can hear the Fox clip)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

What is Felting

So I often get asked what felting is or isn't. And I get asked how its done. Thinking on that subject I ran across a Youtube video about this wonderful felting exhibit that was in New York a year ago. I can't quite figure out where its gone too, because I'd love to see it in person.
but anyway. Here's the clip. Oh, it might help to scroll down to the bottom and pause the music selection, otherwise it'll play right over the clips. This was like an ad and then the other is from Martha Stewart's show.