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Posts Tagged ‘handmade’

The jewellery supply stash has all sorts of interesting bits and bobs and one of the things was a, truthfully, slightly tacky, necklace that was made up of snakes and skulls. I’d had it for quite a while, and had used a couple of the skull links, but the snakes just hadn’t jelled with anything. That was before I’d seen “Good Omens”!

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I had been able to cut a few more pairs of shell wings and the silver snake components were perfect for the black, Crowley, side of a necklace. A silver key, with a silver feather balance it on the white, Aziraphale, side. One of the little skulls hangs between them and I made an apple drop from some red and green glass beads. While I stayed with silver toned chain for the whole thing, each side has a different style.

I loved the splash of colour from the little apple and used them in quite a few of this group.

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Last year, at the beginning of June, “Good Omens” was released on Amazon Prime. I’ve loved the book since the early 90’s and tried not get my hopes up too high about a tv adaption butI was thrilled to have been too pessimistic since it was fantastic!

Falling in love with a show very often gives me a creative burst and this was no exception. It took a bit for the making urge to clarify itself. One aspect is that I’m working on my first direct character cosplays for myself. (I’ll have pics and discussions of those as things get farther along)

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The other group that came out was a collection of shell “wing” necklaces. I wanted to represent both characters and how they join together. To do it, I handcut wing shapes from empty shells I’d found and then stained the mother-of-pearl inside of one black while keeping the other in it’s natural pale tones. The first one I did, had a small heart from the stash, joins the wings and then I hung a little skull and a mother-of-pearl banner below and etched the banner with “Our Own Side” and rubbed some paint into the cuts so it shows. The wings are held in an open position by the placement of the chain attachment points. As often happens with me, the first is the one I consider mine so I’m keeping it!

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This was a Christmas tree decoration set I did for an art exchange back in 2012. It’s pretty disturbing for some people and also on of the more overtly political pieces I’ve made. It was about how common violance against woman is and also how it so often commodified. Sadly, it’s still relevant.

!!!Warning, some people may find the content below the cut disturbing!!!

(more…)

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After figuring out how to make my own custom plus-sized 20’s “flapper” dress, I wanted to finish the look off with a period headpiece. The dress was an evening style, so a fascinator or headband was the way to go and I ended up with something that was a bit of both.

We had recently found a group of tubular peyote bead woven necklaces and bracelets. One necklace had beads that matched the beaded details on the waist scarf and trim from the dress so it was the starting point. It was a bit too short to work as a headband so was sewn to a short band of black covered elastic. That gave the needed additional length and some flexibility to the fit. Plus, I find a bit of stretch is always more comfortable and stable on headpieces.

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The necklace/headband looked pretty good already, but I wanted it to have more impact. The scarf that makes up the main body of the dress had been cut apart in the process and some of the middle was also taken out in shaping the neckline. I’d held on to the leftovers and was able to salvage a piece with some nice shape and sparkly accents that was about as long as my palm.

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The edges were sealed by burning, like the dress neckline,and then it was mounted to a piece of black felt with some interfacing. This gave it body and stability. Some rhinestones were added. A scrap of the black silk velvet was used to make a small poof and a vintage rhinestone button was added to the centre. An ostrich plume and a few coque feathers were an easy way to get impact, height and movement with very little weight. The velvet poof was used to cover the bottom of the feather cluster. A bit of the same beaded trim that was used on the dress was added along the bottom edge. A pair of felt straps on the back secure it to the headband but allow it to slide freely so it’s very easy to position for the best look and comfort.

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The first round of serious clothes altering was when I started making myself some very plain shirt dresses. While you’ll see a number of dresses that look like they are a slightly altered men’s shirt they are pretty much only for the typical “model” body type. I had never found any in plus sizes or anything remotely close.

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I was looking for tops that I could wear with leggings while working at the shop or around the house/garden. There were a bunch of boxes any possible item had to fill.

It had to (in no order):

  • be easily washable and not need ironing
  • be a light, breathable fabric but not see-through or clingy
  • print, plaid or mid-tone colour preferred since it might get smudged
  • have mid-length sleeves so I don’t have to keep pushing them up
  • not be constrictive or limit movement
  • pull-over preferred
  • needs to cover my butt
  • cheap enough that I won’t cry if it gets ruined (paint, putty and sharp objects are all risks)
  • hopefully at least “cute” if not high fashion

Not really an excessive list of demands, but I wasn’t having any luck. Instead, we found a few really good quality, brand new, 3X and 4X men’s shirts at our local thrift store and they seemed a good place to start. They were all under $5 each so there was little risk in jumping right in. The collars for that size of shirt are proportional for a man so were very large. To keep them from looking too weird, we just cut them off and made either a v-neck or a simple curve. One v-neck ended up a bit too deep for me so a small insert was made from the left-over bits. They were all big enough to be pulled over my head so the fronts were sewn down. The ones that were not short sleeved already had the sleeves cut off and finished with a straight hem. To help the flow and keep them from catching on my hips, I opened up the side seams and finished each side with the same straight hem. This gives a more tunic-like look.

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The only other thing was some light darting to give a bit of shape around the waist. The trick with those was that I put it on inside out, pinned the darts; top, bottom and depth, on one side. Then slipped it off, matched the other side so they lined up perfectly and did each as a single sewn line. While it’s very fast and easy, the darts are what really sell these as dresses, not men’s shirts. Of course, if you want and it better suits your body, it’s also easier to not bother with the darts, although you way want to take the bottom seam of the sleeves in a bit so they don’t gape. Those with a very large chest might find it works best to take it in a bit along the bottom for the same reason. No matter what you need, pinning it while it’s inside out should work to help adjust the fit. It’s all about what suits you best!

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I decided it was time to start talking a bit about one of the areas of altered art that I’ve been playing with the past couple of years and it’s going to get personal so I wanted to start with a general explanation of how and why I got into it and why I’ve decided to blog about it.

I am, and have been for all of my adult life, fat. I’m also tall, nearly 6′, and broad-shouldered. As a result, clothing has pretty always been difficult for me. Finding comfortable, affordable, flattering things to wear is a constant nightmare. Add in that I also want them to be easy to care for, durable (both in style and wear) AND to match my own sense of taste, and it becomes almost impossible.

Working as a custom framer for years meant that I had to keep to a business casual/suitable for retail level and one that met with my bosses approval. Luckily, it’s (rightly) viewed as an “artistic” profession, so a bit of personal flair is acceptable. I mostly got by on long skirts, blouses and dresses.

Becoming my own boss has opened up some more options for me. I’ve gradually become more comfortable with expressing my personal taste, when it comes to what I wear. The rise of “disposable fashion” seems to have made the plus-sized clothing options in shops even worse, which I didn’t think was possible. That has driven me to modify/make even more of my clothes. As my daily wear has become personalized, I feel more confidant and relaxed about myself and I’ve had more and more people compliment my clothes and/or ask where I got it. Considering how many people have wanted to know how I’ve been making my stuff, I thought it made sense to start showing how it was done. I am not that accomplished as sewer, but most of what I’ve been doing doesn’t take much skill, you just have to be willing to jump in. I’m not going to do too much in the way of details, but if you have any questions, always feel free to ask and I’ll try to answer.

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IMG_6940It has been quite a while since I made a new batch of masks. I shouldn’t have taken so long a break, but kept getting distracted by stuffies and jewellery, since those are the bulk of what’s needed for shows. At any rate, a new group just got finished! They were done to use up the last of the edging lace. It makes beautiful crowns and is the best accent for the feathers I’ve found but, because it was salvaged, it was in limited supply. All the full crown masks made with it had found homes, so I decided it was time to just go ahead and use what was left. I stuck to most popular colour combos so there is one gold and black, (pictured), a gold and white and one silver and brown. The silver one also used up the last bit of the long natural coque feathers. It’s always hard to reach the end of a favourite supply, but I should look at as a chance to do something different. Either way, it’s going to be hard to see these ones go.

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