April 12, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Over many, many months I have been slowly working on pulling Lily’s big girl bedroom together and finally, at long last, while her room isn’t complete – I did finish one piece of furniture! Yay!
My former neighbour gave me a wonderful old art deco dresser for free that had been his mother’s as a young child. I fell in love with the gorgeous curves and details, however, while structurally it was fantastic, the veneer was extremely damaged with large stains and big chips missing. The only way to restore it to its former glory would have been to have the veneer replaced completely. So, I decided to paint it white for Lily’s bedroom.
Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of the sorry state it was in before I sanded it — so the “before” photo I have is after I sanded the veneer down. Luckily for me — it was the nice thick vintage veneer, so I didn’t have to worry about accidentally sanding through it. After hand sanding (I don’t know about you, but I’m hopeless with an electric sander!), washing, sanding again, washing again and letting it dry, it was finally ready to paint! Then, it sat in the back room for months and months until finally, I got around to painting it. Ha!
Having never restored furniture before – I did an extensive amount of researching and spoke with the paint guys at the local hardware about the most suitable type of paint for this. Armed with everything and assured by the paint guys that the primer/paint combination I had was perfect, I painted. And painted. And painted again. And cried. And pulled my hair. Why? Because no matter how many coats of paint I put on, the white kept turning to yellow! Eek! That was one thing I hadn’t expected.
After poking around online for yellowed white paint – I discovered I should have used an oil or shellac based primer to help prevent the yellow from coming through. I read extremely good things about B-I-N primer, so off I went and purchased some. After applying it, I cried again. But this time, tears of happiness – no more yellow! So after an additional two coats of primer and quite a few more coats of white paint, I achieved the perfect, brilliant and even white that I wanted!
The drawer pulls are a lovely floral design. I gave Lily the option of a few different drawer pulls, and she picked these ones out:
Of course, I wasn’t satisfied with making just the outside pretty – I wanted to make the inside just as lovely. After spending weeks browsing for just the right type of fabric, I finally stumbled across a gorgeous Japanese cotton by Lecien — a bright Spring green background with aqua polka dots and lovely pink and red roses. It was perfect for lining the drawers — especially with the aqua matching the bedroom walls! I also decided to paint inside the drawers the same aqua as the walls. Having learnt my lesson from painting the outside, I did a layer of the B-I-N primer first, then two coats of aqua.
After pre-washing and drying the fabric, I cut it to fit, and mod podged them in. The first drawer, I did a terrible job that I need to fix. Luckily I perfected my application method for the other two drawers, and they went in like a dream with nary an air bubble in sight!
It’s so pretty that it seems almost a shame to put clothing over the top! Haha!
Lining inside the drawers wasn’t enough for me though. Truth be told, when I finally found this fabric my first thought wasn’t drawer liners but rather wondering what applying the fabric to the outer sides of the drawers for a fun and very unexpected pop of colour would look like. I had a very specific vision in mind, and thankfully it panned out exactly as I imagined!
And of course, I must share these two little thrift store darlings and a gorgeous embroidered linen found at an estate sale:
I do have to admit, it’s not 100% finished though. I still need to pull out the mirror, sand the wooden base, clean, paint and then attach — but I think I’m going to leave that until the very end after I’ve finished painting the other furniture.
November 12, 2012 in Sewing
I must apologize for the absence from the blog. I’ve been terribly busy, along with not having time to sew up until very recently. I have a couple of other projects to post, but, because this one is 20% cooler than the others, it comes first!
Lily (and my husband….ok ok, and myself) really enjoy the new My Little Pony cartoons. Not only do I like the animation design, I am surprisingly impressed with the story lines. Do I have a favourite pony? Not yet. Obviously, I side with Rarity because she sews, but I have only just started watching the episodes so I don’t have a clear favourite. Lily, on the other hand, LOVES Rainbow Dash.
To be honest, though, I’m not so sure she likes Rainbow Dash for her personality and character as much as she just loves rainbows right now — but when I told her a week ago I was going to make her a kitty jacket out of leopard print fleece, she said “NO! RAINBOW DASH JACKET!” And remained very adamant about it. At first I said “No way!”…but, remembering the amazing Halloween costumes of Rainbow Dash and Apple Jack from Craftiness is not Optional, I realized it wasn’t an impossible idea and got thinking.
While I adored the jackets made by Jess, I knew that between Lily and the cats, that using yarn for the mane and tail would be a Very.Bad.Idea. So I settled upon the idea of appliquéing the tail and mane. I also decided on more of a dressy Winter jacket that can be worn over the top of sweaters, etc — with the thought it would be easier to incorporate the tail into the skirt part. Lily already had a fleece jacket that she loved wearing – so I based the design from it, making alterations by way of turning it into a double breasted jacket with a detachable hoodie, along with being larger to accommodate growth (I’m pretty certain we’re due for a growth spurt soon!).
I worked on drafting the mane and tail as closely as I could from the Rainbow Dash illustrations. I had to take artistic licence with how the tail flowed along the back, but I tried to keep the division of colour and hair roughly the same.
The cutie marks, were originally meant to be pockets, hence two of them — but by the time I had them sewn, I realized they were too small for pockets, and making them bigger would look unbalanced on the jacket. I particularly love the rainbow buttons, although you may notice blue is missing – that’s because I couldn’t find any blue buttons in the same style!
The hoodie took me a significant amount of time to do in terms of figuring out how to do the mane and then sewing it, along with attaching the ears.
Right about now is where I talk about my love/hate relationship with my sewing machine. I have a Brother SE-400. And while it’s amazing for embroidery type stitches, boy, does it dislike sewing through multiple layers of fabric! It did a gorgeous satin stitch around the colours – but absolutely loathed doing button holes and stitching through areas with more than 2 layers of fabric. It was incredibly frustrating at times, and there are quite a few areas on the jacket where I just had to give up the machine and hand sew. Thankfully, fleece is an extremely forgiving fabric in terms of hiding bad stitches!
It took me over a week to construct – but the end result was worth it! After Lily wore it yesterday, there are a few small things I plan on fixing such as adding a drawstring channel for the hoodie so she can pull it tighter to prevent it from falling off her head and being the perfectionist I am – I think I want to take the wings off and re-adjust their position.
Another great thing to come out of this project aside from the jacket is discovering Lily is becoming more understanding and patient of me sewing. Not only does she brag to people I’m sewing something for her (“Momma sewing RAINBOW DASH!”) she is expressing an interest in the process and wants to help. This means there should be more sewing in the future!
And of course, photos of Rainbow Lily Dash modelling!
I apologize for the silence lately. I haven’t had a chance to sew since December’s alteration (which I realize I haven’t yet posted about, eek!) along with some health issues that accumulated rather rapidly (which are in the process of being resolved) and also concentrating most of my time working on my other passion: KIMONO!
In the interest of trying to catch up – I’m going to do a large post!
I’ve had this dress for many years, initially captivated by the gorgeous colour and trim, the dress itself was hot, shapeless mess when worn! I think a potato sack may have been more flattering. In December 2011, I decided I wanted to wear something bright and cheerful for a Christmas party rather than my usual black (but I didn’t want to wear kimono). I didn’t have the time to make something from scratch, so I decided to finally alter this dress!
I removed the sleeves and unpicked the side seams (leaving the neck intact), and used Simplicity 1447 as the base for dart positioning and shoulder alterations:
Before and after pictures (click to see larger image):
I finally had an opportunity to wear kimono and to re-introduce my friend to kimono. You can read more about the day on my kimono blog: Naomi no Kimono Asobi
On the 1st of February, my baby girl turned two! I is hard to believe that two years ago, on my birthday, I was in the throes of labour! Why yes, we do share a birthday! So for our birthday, we went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
I recently redesigned my kimono blog: Naomi no Kimono Asobi, to reflect my love of Taishō era kimono and fashion. The Taishō era (1912 to 1926) crossed over the Art Nouveau and Art Deco years, which is often displayed in kimono design, both in the fabrics and also the ensembles put together.
I’ve also been working on updating my collection catalogue. When I was pregnant, I fell behind in photographing my pieces, so I had many years worth to do! Thankfully, I’m almost caught up with my kimono and obi, however I still have a large number of accessories to photograph. If you’re interested in viewing the pieces:
Lastly, I’ve been doing a lot of writing over on Kimono Asobi. I’m not sure if the posts would be of interest to any of my readers here, but in the case they are:
Phew! I think that’s about it for now!
…A.K.A known as the “It’s Time To Dance! Dress”.
Besides Fraggle Rock, Lily’s other favourite show is Yo Gabba Gabba! She loves dancing to the music and knows nearly all the Dancy Dances off by heart and randomly breaks out into one of them at odd times. Not complaining. It’s a catchy show that makes you wanna dance!
Anyhow, my husband discovered they were coming our way for a concert and we thought it would be fun to take Lily along. We were either going to have a great time OR Lily was going to insist on us putting Fraggle Rock on instead and get upset.
I was originally going to make Lily a dress in the style they wear on the show – but after some thought, I just wasn’t feeling it. Then I remembered I had one precious yard of robot fabric in my stash and a lightbulb went off!
I purchased this fabric from Weelife shortly before Lily was born to make her a dress. I decided I wanted to wait until she was walking and not growing out of her clothing every other day before using it. I also had trouble finding the right dress pattern as I wanted a juxtaposition of a traditional girly dress with unexpected fabric. Finally, inspiration hit me once I started collecting vintage patterns and I felt a 1950′s silhouette would be perfect!
Out of all my patterns, Butterick 2553 was the most simple base pattern which would allow me to build upon it. I drafted a Peter Pan collar and a bodice inset right off the bat, and before I attached the sleeves, I felt they would benefit with white cuffs to match, so I drafted those as well. It’s been a very long time since I’ve drafted anything – so it’s all a little rusty, but I think it turned out passable. Oh, I also had to draft facing for the neck, as the pattern initially used bias binding for the neck and sleeves.
I’m not sure how I managed to squeeze this dress out of a yard, but I did! I was literally left with itty bitty scraps at the end. As for the white fabric – it turns out that while I have an embarrassingly huge fabric stash, I have no white cotton. I didn’t even have a white cotton shirt to cut up. Nor did my husband. I resorted to cutting up an old IKEA sheet I purchased years ago to use as a drop-cloth while dressing in kimono. For being a sheet, it was a rather rough and open weave fabric and at first I wasn’t particularly happy with it – but with the dress together as a whole, the texture actually worked really well.
Initially I was going to go with turquoise for an accent colour on the white, but then I spied the tiny red lights on the robots and decided to go in that direction. Luckily for me, I had a number of vintage red buttons absolutely perfect for the dress – two flower/cog like ones for the front, and then lovely round ones for the sleeves and back. I then used bias binding and the shell tuck stitch to create the trim. I also had the perfect vintage belt buckle to finish off the ensemble!
While the dress is far from perfect, I have to admit that I’m really proud as it turned out exactly as I envisioned. Most importantly, I finished it with an hour spare, just in time for Lily to wear it to the concert!
Early October when I was in Madison, I visited a number of small antique stores and malls. One of the lovely treasures I stumbled across was a vintage Carson Pirie Scott & Co clothing catalogue from the 1950′s, focusing on college campus fashion.
I fell in love with it immediately upon sight. Not only were the fashion illustrations fabulous, I loved the styling and the quaint notes through-out. I also marvel somewhat that a mailed fashion catalogue was kept rather than thrown out. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t received any catalogues via mail that have compelled me to keep them rather than tossing them for recycle. Perhaps I’m receiving them from the wrong company? Who knows? I just find that most modern-day catalogues lack the inspiration and beauty that vintage ones do.
Without any further ado - here are scans! Click on them to view them larger and see more details.
I hope you enjoyed the catalogue as much as I do!
Oh, Simplicity 3213. How you captured my heart immediately upon sight!
I purchased this pattern without even a second thought – I adored the scalloped dress and bolero, such a sweet design. “I MUST MAKE THIS NOW!” I said, the moment the pattern arrived in the mail.
Oh! Such trifling worries! I’m a firm believer that when inspiration hits, especially when you’ve had a massive creativity block, that you do your best to work with it. And so I did.
I already knew I had the perfect fabric – two lovely 1950′s cottons that I found when I was in Madison last month. The pink gingham appeared to have been used as a table cloth at one point so I had to work around a few small stains. Thankfully, I had –JUST– enough fabric! I had 4.5 yards of the fantastic pink, turquoise, green and white checked fabric, so I had plenty to play around with for the contrasting pieces.
Enough talk and on with the photos!
I’ve mentioned before that Lily is a rather, uh, “active” model – so the photos of her wearing them are quite blurry!
It may not seem like it, but the dress is actually too big (being a 3T and all), but due to the ties, I can tie it relatively tight. The bolero, however, is huge! I think by Summer, though, she should ft it better. I do still need to finish the bloomers and bonnet, but I was just so excited with how well the dress turned out that I had to share!
At an estate sale I attended a few weeks back I picked up a number of lovely doilies. They all had been used at some point and had small amounts of damage (stains, etc) – but I just adored the patterns and figured they could be dyed or something. One of the doilies was the perfect length for the small shelf above my kitchen sink. We live in a small apartment, so I don’t have many areas around here to display items – so above the kitchen sink it is!
The doilie had noticable staining in certain areas on the tatting (I’m actually not sure if that’s the correct technique for this doilie?), but I loved the design. After some thought – I decided to have at it with some fabric pens. (Eek!)
After working out the colour scheme I wanted – pink and turquoise (is anyone surprised?) I set upon colouring the circles in.
I used two different fabric pens – Crayola and Tulip. Crayola, I found, bled quite a lot. Which wasn’t bad for what I needed it to do – but had I been trying to draw on the fabric, I wouldn’t have been happy. Tulip brand had significantly less bleed and a much larger range of colours to work with. I also have to say that their customer service is fantastic.
The finished doilie!
Did you notice the dinosaurs? If you couldn’t tell by the blog name, we’re kinda dinosaur crazy in this house. While T-Rex is painted just one colour, I went a bit crazy with Steggy. Gold paint, vintage decal…but I did stop short of rhinestones. For now.
While we’re on a dinosaur note, Lily recently got a new pair of jeans that are to big in the waist, so I decided to make her a belt. I’ve had this dinosaur ribbon for a few years, waiting for just the right moment….
And that moment was now!
Lily, however, is notoriously difficult to photograph when we’re trying to model items. Her idea of modeling involves lots of running around, jumping, grabbing the camera, etc.
Last, but not least…ruby slippers! These are our absolute favourite shoes, but they no longer had them in Lily’s size. Oh no! As you can see – Lily has well and truly worn them in and scuffed all the glitter off the toes.
After lamenting the fact they no longer came in her size, I suddenly realized that I’m handy with glue…and hopefully handy with glitter – so why not just glue and glitter myself?
I decided to attempt this particular craft while Lily was napping – it would just be easier and less likely to get glitter everywhere. Voila! Nice brand new glittery shoes!
Have you done any small and random craft projects lately?
November 2, 2011 in Life
As someone who feels she lives Halloween every day, I wasn’t particularly motivated to do costumes this year. We had also been travelling and with that shake-up in our routine, I just didn’t have the energy to think too much about it. That was, until around midday on Halloween.
I was nursing Lily down for her nap and my thought process went like this:
I then spent the next hour and a half impatiently waiting for Lily to wake up from her nap so I could go on the mad, frantic hunt for my costume and to start my make-up. I found the skirt and petticoat right away, but I couldn’t find the blouse that I had made – which was one of the most important pieces! When I played Frida those many years ago, I paid particular attention to her blouses and made sure I sewed one as close as possible in style. About 20 opened space bags later, I finally found the blouse. Not in a space bag, mind you. But! I found the blouse!
With the blouse found, I then braided my hair with a scarf, pinned it up and added a few flowers. Probably the easiest part in the entire dressing
I then tackled the make-up. Fortunately, I still had my oshiroi (geisha make-up), which when applied correctly, creates the most amazing, flawless white base. Not that I applied it expertly, but I still got an amazing base!
Then after Googling for a bit, I settled upon how I wanted to do my face. While not perfect, I was pleased with how it turned out. How did Lily react to my make-up? I made sure to do my make-up using a mirror where she could see me through the entire process. She thought it was the best thing since sliced bread and broccoli and kept calling out “Momma! Momma!” for me to turn around, then she’d burst into giggles. Ahh, what a doll.
My entire outfit:
And out at dinner:
November 2, 2011 in Wonderful Finds
Yikes! It’s been a while since I’ve updated, but life has been crazy busy! Long story short, we went for a trip to Madison, Wisconsin to visit Arian’s family, then on our return it was a whrilwind of work for Arian and getting back into routine for Lily and I.
I’m just going to drop a few “catch-up” posts before I post about something that I’m rather excited to share.
This post is dedicated to estate sales and antique malls!
I’m still rather new at this whole estate sale thing, but so far, I’ve been very fortunate to obtain some lovely items not just for myself, but for Lily as well.
Before we left to go to Madison, we attended an estate sale of a woman who very obviously never had idle hands. She had a sewing room full of amazing crochet and needlework, all done by her. I unfortunately missed out on the hand embroidered linens – but I did manage to score some lovely crochet doilies and table cloths among other items. She also had some fantastic mail order patterns from the 40′s I was very happy to re-home. You can click on the images below to view them in better detail.
While in Madison, Arian’s mother and I attended a few antique malls. I was interested in locating handkerchiefs for a special project I’m working on, hats, fabric, patterns, etc and the malls didn’t disappoint! I was especially thrilled with the gorgeous vintage cottons I picked up and ever since we arrived back home, I had thought about what I wanted to make with them. I was also amused with the fuzzy purple hat. Not only is the hat just awesome in general – it was…wait for it…made in Australia! So of course, as one Australian in the USA to another, had to bring it back with me.