Thursday, August 25, 2011

It's all about the accessories!  As usual, I left the Project Runway challenge until the last minute and only had a couple of hours last night to work on it.  You'll have to use your imagination a bit on this one.

The challenge was "It's all About Nina."  Nina Garcia, fashion director of marie claire magazine, that is.  We were to design an outfit that Nina would be able to wear during the day at work, and transform into an outfit that she could wear to an evening trade event, with only a change of accessories.  We were given some guidelines....styles she disliked...styles she liked....colors, etc.  Basically, she likes classic styles with a little pop factor, no loud fabrics or prints, but not too boring.

I didn't have time to accessorize this outfit, but I think it answers the challenge fairly well and I can actually visualize Nina wearing this outfit.  The fabric is a day into night fabric and is a nice color for Nina's skin tones.  Simply changing jewelry, shoes, and maybe even the hair style, could make this work friendly, then evening friendly. 

My "pop" factor is using the selvedge edge on the top and the pants.  I liked the way the selvedge looked and wanted to add it to the outfit.  I made a band to go around the waist-hip area of the top and simply left the bottom edge of the pants unhemmed, using the selvedge edge for the finish.

This outfit had my first sleeves and my first pants.  The pants were fairly easy, but I did have some fitting problems with the sleeves.  They pull a little bit instead of hanging loose and free.

So use your imagination.....think of Nina wearing some beautiful earrings, a necklace, bangle bracelets, wedge shoes.......then upgrade all of those to fancier evening accessories, probably all in gold, and dressy shoes.  I think it could work!
(Edited to say that this fabric is hunter green, not black.  I'm getting some comments about the black fabric and thought I should clear that up.)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Free Fabric Swatch at Spoonflower!
 (Free shipping too!)

I just came across this offer and it expires at hurry over to Spoonflower to either pick an already designed swatch of fabric or design your own.  Either's free until noon!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Project Runway reveal time.......  This weeks' challenge was to make an outfit for a model wearing stilts.  A really goofy challenge, in my opinion, as it seems like the challenge was simply to make a longer outfit than normal.  The runway on the TV show was outdoors, so I've taken Cara's finished shot outdoors too, while hoping that no neighbors came out to see me playing with dolls!  

These are the fabrics that I chose.  I was happy to be back to a normal fabric, instead of pet supplies, but still found lots of difficulties making this outfit.  More later.

Here is Cara in her "stilts."  I used plastic straws for her stilts and simply taped them to her legs.  She wasn't in these very long, so I don't think it was too rough on her.  I only started this challenge last night, so there wasn't much time to make the outfit or much time for her to have these things strapped to her legs.

Here's my finished project.  I wanted to make a palazo pant with an over skirt, but too many things, including time restraints, kept me from making what I had designed in my mind.  I had to simplify just about everything to get the outfit finished in time.  I had also planned on sleeves...but again....didn't have the time to make those.  An easier halter was made instead.  I used chains to trim the waist and to tie her halter top in the back.

Here's a great shot of the back of her melted skirt!  Yeah, really.  Those stripes are Cara's stilts showing through the melted hole.  I used my mini quilting iron which is just the perfect size for these tiny seams.  I had tested the temperature and had no problem until I let the iron sit for awhile, then touched the fabric.  Instant melting!  Apparently, it got considerably hotter while not being used.  It was too late to start over, so I had to leave it.  I also had problems sewing the fabric.  Nothing has gone smoothly yet, but the finished project.....from a somewhat acceptable.  And, as usual, more lessons have been learned the hard way!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

This doesn't look like a quilting picture, but that's what I was doing while watching these two come down to the pond for a refreshing drink. 

I got to spend the day with my friend, Joyce, who lives in the country.  Deer visit often......much too often, if you ask her.  Her home is surrounded by woods but I think the deer find her shrubs tastier.  Yum....

It was just so pleasant to spend the day chatting, quilting, and watching the deer and the birds at the feeders.  No sounds other than bird songs.  Delightful day for this urban girl!  Thanks, Joyce!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

It's time for this week's Project Runway reveal.  Click on the pictures for better details.  First, a few notes on the process. 
To start, here's a picture of the back of the bag.  I forgot to post both sides last week and since I used part of the back, I wanted you to see where all of the parts came from.

Next up is a photo of the Velcro that I found at Jo-Ann's that works just great.  I do believe that it's the exact type of Velcro that Mattel uses, as it looks and behaves just like the Velcro that I removed from the Barbie swimsuit last week. It says on the package that it's not recommended for fabric, just crafts, but if you sew it down (it's sticky backed), it seems to work wonderfully.  The nap on both parts of the Velcro is very short and close to the correct scale for tiny model's clothes.

Here's Cara in her pet shop supply outfit.  Everything was made out of the cat food bag, with no additional supplies used.  Working with plastic was a real pain and another learning experience!  I was going to start over, once I learned some tricks, but decided to leave it as is.  You can only sew the plastic one time as it pokes holes in the plastic which will tear if you work with it too much.  When I sewed the skirt and turned it right side out, it made horrible krinks and wrinkles.  I tried to use a hair dryer to heat the wrinkles out, but it was a really fine line between smoothing out the wrinkles and melting the skirt.  Again....I left it as is. 

Full view.

And lastly, here's a back shot of her boots.  I told you that her feet were wider and flatter than regular Barbie feet so it's hard to find shoes to fit.  These work as long as she stands up against a wall!

On to next week's challenge!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Here's my next Project Runway challenge.  We are to make our creation out of pet shop supplies, trying not to use regular fabric products, like a dismantled dog bed, but unconventional materials.  They can be applied to a muslin base, if necessary.  I've chosen the bag from my cat's food.  It's made out of a plastic material, not paper, and all I could think about was that I wouldn't need to turn under any tiny raw edges or worry about fraying.  However, I have no idea how working with plastic will turn out.  (I've already tried melting it with a match and it didn't work very well.)  I give myself the right to completely change my challenge materials if this is a bust!  Having had every kind of pet imaginable, I have an endless supply of pet products to use if this bag doesn't work out.  Hopefully, I'll have some sort of finished product to post on Thursday!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

And the headline could have read "Local Woman Killed In Buffalo Stampede!"

No could have.  I went to the Wild Winds Buffalo Preserve on Saturday to take a buffalo tour.  This is a fairly popular tourist attraction in Northern Indiana and I knew  several people that had visited and highly recommended it. 

There were six of us on this particular tour truck, all seniors looking for a relaxing commune with nature.  It was just the freakishly perfect storm.  The buffalo were startled by something (later, the tour guide said it was the horses that some people were riding outside our fenced acreage) and they started running towards us, all 250+ of them!  Because of the way our truck was positioned,  backed close into a corner of their area, they had very little space to run around us and could not help but "bump" into our truck.  They weren't trying to cause us any harm, they were just in a panic mode and running in an uncontrolled frenzy.  This truck was just an open bed pickup that was outfitted with some planks for the visitors to sit on and short plank sides to lean against.  I don't know what the babies weighed.....maybe 200+ pounds, but the adults weighed up to 2000+ pounds.  2000 pounds running at 35 miles an hour, bumping into the truck was frightening.  In addition to feeling the ground shake and the truck being jostled, I could feel our truck lifting up.  It lasted about 20 to 30 seconds, but it seemed a bit like slow motion.  I instinctively went to the side of the truck that was lifting (like ballesting a tipping sail boat) although my weight would have done little against the tons of weight pounding us.  When it was over, I told my friend Jerry that I thought we were about to tip over and he said I was nuts.  The tour guide confirmed that I was right and that it was close to tipping!  Why we hadn't been warned about this possibility, I don't know.  The guide said it had happened once before, but it was extremely rare.  If it had tipped, we faced the possibility of being crushed by the truck or run over by the buffalo.....neither choice particularly apealing.  I was the only one (outside of the guide) that even realized the danger we were in, so we all went back to our casual chatting and asking questions about the buffalo.  Surreal. 

Amazingly, after this episode was over, everything was as peaceful as it was before the stampede. The buffalo are a naturally peaceful animal and they went back to grazing, scratching, swatting flies, and calmly checking us out as we watched them. 

 The calm before the storm!

You can see the peaceful expession of this face!  And I understand that they are very intelligent too.

There's more to this story, but that's enough to tell.  I would still go back and take the tour again, believing that it wouldn't happen twice!  Like lightening....right??!!

Friday, August 5, 2011

I went fabric shopping today and here's the loot!  But wait.... there's a was free!  I won second place with my little cat wall hanging (earlier post) and the prize was a $200 gift certificate!  Shazzam!  They.....Fabrics and Friends in Roanoke, IN (no web site).....were having a great sale today too, so I have almost $150 left after making these purchases.  I was one happy camper!

I love Halloween fabric and Bigfork Bay has the most comical patterns, right up my weird alley.  I may go back tomorrow too, as I also have a 40% off coupon.  And it will be free.....did you hear me.... free!  I'm so blessed!  Many grateful thanks to all of you who took the time to drive to Roanoke to vote for my wall hanging!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Here's my big Project Project Runway reveal.  Let me tell you, this isn't what I had in mind!  (You can click on her photo for a closer look at her outfit.)

I used every bit of Cara's swimsuit.  The top was cut apart and the bra cups were inverted to make pockets on her top.  I split open the bottoms and removed the crotch area, then added the gathered skirt. 
I had problems just because everything is so small.  You cannot sew these tiny clothes the same way you would sew normal sized garments.  After I had removed the crotch area from the swimsuit bottom, I tried to sew my gathered skirt to the bottom.  My sewing foot was too big to even get to the area.  I can't even explain everything that went wrong, but the skirt seams started out on the sides with pockets, but when I couldn't sew it to the swimsuit bottom, I had to split all of the seams on the bottom, move the skirt around, remove the pockets......blah, blah.  You had to be there to understand this.  What I did learn is that everything has to be done in long seams.....for instance, there is no way you could sew a set in sleeve the normal'd have to sew it to the shoulder, then sew a long seam up the sleeve and down the torso.  Still can't explain this, but you clothing sewists will understand this. 

I won't know what the next challenge is until tomorrow, but I know that my brain will have to adjust to tiny construction techniques and not normal sewing methods.  None the less, it was fun to play around with this challenge.  Here's a link to check out the other contestants' entries.  Many are really cute and clever!

Cara, my sweet model has no shoes yet!  Her feet are not made as small and curved as the regular Barbie doll feet, they are wider and more flat.  I'm on the lookout for wider shoes.  Next picture session, I'll just cut off the photo and not show her feet!