Category Archives: Patterns and Tutorials

DIY Mixed Flower Bridal Bouquet: Tutorial

I got married last week in a small family-only civil ceremony on Jones Island in the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington. It was perfect! It was really important to both of us to have the things we wanted without breaking the bank. For me, that meant a couple small DIY projects. One of these was the flowers.

Photo credit: Matthew Land http://matthewland.com/

Photo credit: Matthew Land
http://matthewland.com/

Getting married in such an isolated location puts some limitations on vendor availability. I really just had two florists in town to choose from and at a starting price of $125 for a bridal bouquet, I chose neither! Instead, I bought my wedding flowers from the grocery store!!

I popped into the grocer a couple days before the wedding to scout the flower situation and found out when their shipments of flowers come in so I could buy the freshest flowers with the largest selection. I chose three mixed flower bouquets in a purple and yellow color scheme for a total cost of $28 (that’s $97 savings!).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMaterials list:
2-3 bouquets of flowers
Green florist tape
Straight pins
Elastic bands
Shears/scissors
Ribbon/hankie

Step 1: Strip your flowers.
While all those leaves and filler bits look great in a bouquet in a vase, they get in the way when trying to construct a bridal bouquet. So before getting started with any arranging, you want to strip your flowers of ALL leaves and organize them by flower type.

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Step 2: Pick your “Show Off” flower.
Once you’ve got all your flowers laid out, you’ll want to choose one or two flowers that will be the center of your bouquet. This should be a larger flower and should be your favorite. I chose the Gerbera daisy as the focal point for my bouquet.

Next you want to select a few flowers to surround your center flower. When adding these it’s nice to work in odd numbers and to keep things even. I add three stalks of flowers around the daisy (pardon the blurry photo!).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAStep 3: Florist tape.
Take the time to arrange these few center stalks. When you’re satisfied, use florist tape to hold them in place. Florist tape is a stretchy green tape that’s a bit tacky, so when you wrap it around itself it will self-adhere. It’s what boutonnieres are often wrapped in.

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Step 4: Add more flowers.
Next you’ll want to add a few more flowers, in the same even manner as above. If you’re going to add odd flowers, try to balance them with an odd flower on either side of the bouquet. Here, I’ve added clusters of purple flowers evenly spaced around the yellow. Secure the stems with more florist tape every four or five stalks.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you’re going to add flowers unevenly, try to balance them. For example, in my bouquet I added a yellow lily and orange carnation to one side, then some white daisies to the other (see finished pictures).

Step 5: Add your “filler” and greenery.
Once you’ve got your bouquet built up a little, but not quite finished, it’s time to add your filler and greenery. I added stalks that stood up straight to the back of the bouquet and added looser more droopy stalks to the front of the bouquet.

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As the bouquet gets larger it gets more difficult to secure the stems with florist tape alone. I wrapped the florist tape with an elastic band when I found it was getting a little unwieldy, just to make sure everything would stay nice and secure.

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Step 6: Add finishing flowers.
The final step is adding a few flowers to the outside to fill in the bouquet and to surround the filler and greenery. I just added flowers until I was happy with the size of the bouquet, making sure the central showcase Gerbera daisy was always visible.

For the final step to keep things nice and tight, I secured the florist tape with straight pins.

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Since the bottom of the bouquet would be visible, I also took the time to give the stems a nice even blunt cut at the bottom. I don’t have any pictures of it, but as a final step I wrapped the bottom of the bouquet in my granny’s handkerchief to cover the florist tape.

And voila! My finished bouquet! (I’m hoping there might be a better picture when we get our photos from the photographer. I’ll update the post if I find a better shot).
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bouquet in action

DIY: Plaid Elbow Patch Appliques

Pete has a sweater that goes everywhere with him. It’s been stuck overnight on the top of Mount Hood with him, it’s been to Yosemite, it’s been to the Alps, it’s been to sea, it’s been to Alaska. It’s been crammed into his backpack on virtually every trip he takes. It’s actually shocking that it’s taken this long to develop a hole!

On a trip to NYC Pete saw a dude wearing a sweater with plaid elbow patches and asked if I could do something similar for him. No problem!

The finished product!!

The finished product!!

With the knit sweater I was worried about two things if I simply sewed a patch on top; 1. that the hole would continue to grow under the patch, and 2. that the patch would be difficult to sew on stretchy knit fabric. So I decided to make my own iron-on applique elbow patches using an adhesive web called Pellon. Below are step-by-step directions to make your own applique patches.

Materials list;
– sturdy plaid fabric
– paperbacked adhesive web, such as Pellon
– scissors
– pins
– iron
– damp cloth
– sewing machine

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1. Cut out a rough shape in fabric, and the same shape, slightly smaller, from the paperbacked adhesive web. 

2. Lay the paperbacked adhesive web on the ironing board, bumpy-side-up, and lay the fabric over top, wrong-side-down. Iron on high for about 8 seconds. Now your fabric should adhered to the adhesive web. Be careful to not touch the bumpy (glue) side of the adhesive web to the iron or it might muck up your iron.

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3. Trim the fabric fused with the web to the desired size. I made a patch that was about 6″ x 4″ with rounded edges.

4. Peel the paper backing from the adhesive web. It can help to grab the edge of the fabric and make a little tear to get the backing off. Now you left with an iron-on fabric patch!

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5. Make someone model the sweater so you can position the patches properly on the elbows and pin them in place, web-side-down. I did this on the side with the hole, then removed the sweater and positioned the other patch by measuring, to make sure they’d be positioned symmetrically.

6. Lay the sweater with pinned-on patch on the ironing board, patch-side-up. Overlay with a slightly damp towel (needed to keep the fabric from burning while adhering the patch). Carefully remove the pins without changing the position of the patch, then iron for ~15 seconds with firm pressure. The Pellon instructions say to do this on the wool setting, but I was repairing an acrylic sweater so used the synthetic setting and found it still adhered well.

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7. I worried the edges of the patch might peel up or fray over time so I finished them with some decorative stitching around the edge on my sewing machine. I set my sewing machine to a zigzag stitch with 4.5 width setting and 0 length setting and carefully sewed around the edge of each patch.

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I gotta hand it to Pete, the plaid patches were a great idea and the sweater looks pretty cute now! We had also debated leather/suede or corduroy patches, but I’m glad we went with the plaid.

Baby Name Art: Felt Embroidery DIY

A friend of mine just had a gorgeous baby girl: Stella Joy! My go-to baby gift is normally a set of felt applique onesies (tutorial, one day!), but I really dropped the ball with baby Stella and before I knew it….she was here!

I decided to branch out a bit and, inspired by some things I found on Pinterest here, here and here, I made Stella some baby name art. I’m so happy with how it turned out and I hope her parents love it too!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis project wasn’t too difficult, but all the stitching around the name took a lot longer than I expected!

To make this, all you’ll need is;

– an embroidery hoop (mine was 16″)
– one sheet each of green, white, pink, and blue felt
– white and pink seed beads
– one skein each of white, black, blue and pink embroidery floss
– two skeins of green embroidery floss
– lightweight cotton/muslin (18-20″ square)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI first cut a large circle from the blue felt, about 1″ diameter smaller than the embroidery hoop and, with muslin secured in the hoop, sewed the blue felt to the white cotton backing using the blanket stitch with blue embroidery floss. I then sewed the green felt on just as I had the blue.

To make the name, I cut paper stencils and held them in place with straight pins while I gently traced around them with a felt pen. (I’m not sure why the color is off in these couple photos, the green is really more of a soft mint rather than the harsh lime it appears here).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOnce I had the name traced onto the fabric I sewed around it using a simple backstitch.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe grassy embroidery effect around the name was created by sewing small straight stitches in a random pattern about a centimeter around each letter. I diluted the stitches toward the edge of the letters to try to give the impression of grass.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAInspired by something I’d seen on Pinterest I used concentric circles cut out of felt to make some sheep and flowers, adding a seed bead to the center of each for a nice girly touch.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe little sheep legs were made using backstitch and the heads were a simple satin stitch. The expanse of blue sky seemed a little vacant when I was done and I was worried clouds would compete with the sheep, so I added a little heart embroidered on using blanket stitch.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith the front finished, I wanted to make sure the back looked just as polished, so I tried to finish it as nicely as I could (without wasting too much time on it). Unfortunately, I didn’t take pictures of the process because I was going to just link to another tutorial on a blog I frequent. When I went back to look at it though, I realized that I didn’t actually follow it at all and made up my own method instead after I’d already finished without taking any pictures….whoops!

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I cut the excess backing fabric away leaving about a 2″ border. The I ran my needle through it very loosely gathering it toward the center of the backing. I cut a circle from felt about and inch smaller in diameter than the embroidery hoop and attached it to the gathered backing using blanket stitch.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd that’s about it! Hope Stella likes it! 🙂

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Tutorial: Simple Double-Sided Cloth Napkins

My mom’s kitchen is blue and white, so when I saw the Ravena fabric line by Dear Stella on Fabricworm I immediately thought of her. I decided to make her some simple double-sided cloth napkins for a birthday/Mother’s day gift and I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI started with a half yard of each fabric (the smallest size I could order) and cut two 17″ squares of each using my rotary cutter.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAReflecting on the New Year’s resolution I made this year to be more patient with sewing projects and take the time to use proper techniques, I did something that I’ve never done before…..I ironed my hems! I folded the fabric 1/2″ on all sides and ironed them flat to make them easier to pin and sew.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen I got to the corners, I tucked the fabric in to make much neater mitered corners.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI then pinned the fabrics with wrong-sides together in pairs of light and dark fabric, making sure that the folded edges stayed tucked inside and taking special care to make sure the corners stayed neat. (Note: when buying fabrics online, if you purchase fabrics from the same line/designer you can be assured the colors will match).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was only after I top-stitched around the edge of each napkin, with about 1/4″ seam allowance, that I realized making the napkins with one dark side and one light side might not have been the best idea – if the light side gets stained, the dark side makes it so it can’t be bleached! Ooops!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe napkins were probably good as-is at this point, but since they were for a gift I wanted to add a little extra handmade touch and decided to embroider a decorative border around the edges using navy embroidery floss.

I used three different very simple stitches. The small ‘x’ pattern was made by sewing the first lines of all the ‘x’s all the way around the napkin, then going back and crossing over with the line in the other direction to complete the ‘x’ (like cross-stitching).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe larger ‘x’ pattern was made in the same way except the embroidery floss was brought up and over the edge of the fabric so that the ‘x’ pattern actually wrapped the edge of the napkins.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI also made a couple napkins using a basic blanket-stitch (I was actually a little disappointed with how these ones turned out, I was hoping the edging would be more visible).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI gave them all a final iron before folding them neatly and wrapping them up with a bow for the gift!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI think my mom really appreciated the gift, especially since it turns out her old navy napkins had been getting faded and she’d been searching for some new ones to replace them!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DIY Sewing (in progress) – Striped Tanktop

I’m addicted to horizontal stripes, especially in black and white. For a while I restricted myself from buying anything too stripy, but one of my favorite black/white striped sweaters is starting to look a little worse for wear so I’m allowing myself another new shirt or two.

Whenever I go to the fabric store I always check out the odds and ends bin, you can find some great deals in there. For instance, I found about 2 yards of this black/white striped jersey knit for $3!! It had a couple holes and blemishes that needed to be worked around but for that price, I figured I couldn’t go wrong!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI thought about it for a while and ultimately decided to make a tanktop with the fabric. I’m a self-taught sewer, so I’m not sure if these techniques are proper but they’re what work (sort of) for me! Though, you’ll see at the end that this project had a few issues I’m still trying to sort out.

I have a sheer tanktop from Nordstrom that I really like the fit of and decided to use that as a rough template, leaving about an inch around all edges for seam allowance and some room to mess up.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s hard to tell in the top picture, but this tanktop is actually made of 3 pieces total. The front is a single panel, then the back has a seem across the shoulders with a bit of gathering to allow it to sit flat across the shoulders then flow out from the body.

I started by preparing the front and back panels for sewing together. I didn’t take a picture of it, but the front of the tanktop has a bit of gathering in the center of the neck opening. When I cut the fabric, I allowed a couple inches extra for this and gathered the fabric before sewing the two pieces together. There’s a really simple way to do this. 

First, sew a straight line on the portion of the fabric that you are going to gather (don’t use your stretch stitch settings yet!). Be careful to do this close to the edge of your fabric (less than 5/8″) so that it will be sewn into the seam and not visible in the finished garment. Next, you want to grab the thread from the top side of the start of the stitching and the bottom side of the end of the stitching (I’ve drawn arrows to show which threads, the one on the right is coming from underneath the fabric).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGently pull on the threads and the fabric will gather. When it has the look you like, run it through your machine again and baste it down with a quick top sew.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI did the same thing at the back of the shirt, then sewed it to the upper back panel.  When I did this, I forgot to change the tension on my machine first and ended up getting a snag and putting a hole in the fabric. Whoops!

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Every sewing machine is different, but it’s important to sew stretchy fabrics with the proper tension settings to allow your seams to stretch with your shirt and avoiding thread breakage. My machine has a stretch stitch setting that I used for sewing all the seams (once I remembered to do so, that is!).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow I was ready to stitch the front to the back. Unfortunately, at least once in every sewing project I will sew the right side to the wrong side. I guess that’s why stitch rippers were invented!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOk, with that out of the way I was free to pin and sew right sides of fabric together, sewing  the side seams up the torso of the shirt and the shoulders. I always use a seam allowance of 5/8″, since I was taught this is what most sewing patterns allow for. I also took care to make sure I matched stripes. It’s a simple way to make your projects look a little more tailored.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANext, I wanted to add binding to the neck and armholes. Full disclosure here, folks: I’ve never done binding before and I totally made it up, so I may not have done it properly.

First, I cut long strips of fabric, 2″ wide, that I would use as the binding. At this point, other craft blogs would tell you to do something crazy like iron it. If you like doing things properly, go ahead! Iron away! If you’d rather get it done quickly and sloppily, my way is the way!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANext, I sewed one long edge of the binding to the armholes and neckline, right sides together.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis next part might be a little difficult to see with my fingers in the way, but what you want to do is this:

1. Fold the binding, wrong sides together so that the edge meets the edge of your seam (along the dotted red line I’ve drawn).

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2. Fold again, so that now your binding is folded over itself and covering the raw seam edges and pin.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAStitch as close as you can to the inner folded edge of the binding all the way around, until it looks something like this…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis technique worked great along the neckline and I’m quite pleased with how it turned out. The armholes??? That’s another story….

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo. Here’s where we end for now folks. I’m debating a couple possibilities to fix this issue.

1. Remove the binding, put in a dart and try again.

2. Be really lazy and try to add a dart without re-doing the binding. This seems unlikely to work.

3. See if I can just sew up that side seam and take in the extra fabric on the armhole.

I’ll post again once I decide what to do. In the meantime, any experienced sewers out there with a suggestion on how to fix this mistake?

Jewelry Armoire: DIY Up-Cycled From a Sewing Cabinet

I decided to go ahead and convert my found jewelry armoire (I blogged about it a couple weeks ago, here) into a jewelry armoire for myself. It was a great no-fuss (no sew, no glue, no construction, no paint) project that took me about 30 min to finish last night and I’m really pleased with how it turned out!

The only adjustments this cabinet really needed were to have the screws replaced in one of the hinges on the lid and to add some felt lining to the compartments in the top that I’d be putting my jewelry bits and pieces in. I used some felt rounds that came stacked between a new set of plates we bought to cut out the inserts I’d need, and that’s all the materials I used!

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My original plan was to remove the bottom sheet of wood from under the compartment drawer, lay a piece of felt across the whole thing then reattach the divisions. Unfortunately, the small compartments originally intended for spools and bobbins each had their own curved bottom so that wasn’t going to work. Instead, I laid a piece of felt on top and gently traced the shape of each compartment using a felt pen, then cut out the traced shape.

photo (3) copyLuckily, the inserts fit perfectly and didn’t even need any glue to keep them down! I just tucked them neatly into each little slot. I needed to cut a few pieces to fill the long compartments.

photo (7)All that was left was to load it up with my jewelry! I used the small felt-lined compartments for earrings, pendants and necklaces, and used the larger ones for necklaces that I didn’t want to bunch up and some pieces that didn’t fit neatly into the smaller openings.

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photo (9)The spindles of the lid were originally intended for large spool or bobbin storage, I think. They’re removable so are perfect for storing my large hoop earrings and necklaces that tend to get all wrapped up on themselves and tangled.

photo (10)I used the drawers to store larger items that wouldn’t fit into the top compartments. The top drawer now houses my nicer jewelry and perfectly fits one of my jewelry boxes for more storage of fine rings and earrings, with enough space to store my bracelets off to one side. The bottom drawer is a little deeper and perfect for large costume pieces and a few keepsakes.

photo (13)I’m thrilled that I finally have a jewelry armoire and the space to lay out all my pieces! Who knows? Maybe I’ll get really crazy now and actually wear jewelry on a daily basis! LOL!

Knitting Pattern: Chunky Green Cowl

I really can’t go near my favorite San Francisco yarn store, Imagiknit, without buying something. The struggle is usually to limit myself to just one yarn, if I don’t have a specific project in mind!

On my last trip I picked up this gorgeous Malabrigo yarn. I’ve been thinking about making the leap into chunky knitting lately (up until now, I think the largest needles I had ever used were a US 10) and this yarn was enough to entice me!

solis_malabrigoRastaThese pictures really don’t capture the depth and gorgeous color saturation with this yarn. It’s a gorgeous aquatic swirl of lime green with the deepest teal blue. All the colors in this line were beautiful and it was almost impossible to choose just one! Luckily, a quick look in my wallet usually makes it seem a lot more possible…

Since this was $22/90 yards I could only afford one skein and had to make sure I made something that I would definitely wear. The yarn was also so incredibly soft I wanted to make sure that whatever I made would be worn right against my skin.

So, without further ado, I reveal my Chunky Green Cowl.

SAMSUNGOnce again, the picture above is washing out the color and not doing it any justice whatsoever. The photo below is really the one that is closest to what it looks like in reality.

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I did a garter stitch on single point needles until I ran out of yarn. I put a single twist in it before I stitched it together to turn it into an infinity scarf.

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Here’s the pattern: Enjoy!

Yarn: Malabrigo Rasta (100% Merino Wool)
Yardage: 90 yards
Weight: Chunky
Needles: US 16, single point

CO 20.
Row 1: K 20.
Repeat until out of yarn.

Put in a single twist by joining the front side of one end to the back side of the other end to make an infinity scarf. Join using Kitchener stitch.

Where The Wild Things Are Costumes: Tutorial (sort of)

This post is a little off-season but better late than never, right? Also, I’ve discovered that my photo documenting skills definitely need improvement. I get way too into a project and forget to take pictures of the steps along the way! Whoops! Anyway, here goes.

For Halloween this year, Pete and I decided that we would do a couple’s costume. He’s not normally a big one for Halloween but he agreed that if I made us the costumes he would wear it. We tossed around a couple ideas but eventually decided that we would be characters from Where the Wild Things Are!

I dressed up as Max and Pete was one of the monsters. Here’s our inspiration:
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And here’s how we turned out! (Sorry for the photo quality, I need to start taking pictures with my camera instead of my phone)
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Ok. Mine First. I didn’t actually take any pictures of the construction because I kinda just made it up as I went along.

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For the onesie I used a cream-colored soft fleece fabric with a wrong side that was indistinguishable from the right side, that way I could be as careless as I wanted cutting and sewing. If I recall correctly, I think I bought about 3 yards.

I accordian folded the fabric length-wise so that there were 4 layers of fabric. The patterning was VERY rough. I just laid out a hoodie and a pair of pj pants on top of the fabric and cut around the edges, leaving at least 1″ for seam allowance and a little extra room. I was left with four identical pieces, each making up an ankle-to-neck panel.

I first sewed together the inseam and the crotch on the legs. When sewing up the crotch I sewed all the way up the back of the onesie but left the front open. I then sewed up the sides of the onesie, extending all the way from leg cuff to sleeve cuff.

For the front of the onesie, I decided it would be easier to just sew in a zipper than to make functioning buttons so I cut a ~6″ strip of fabric to act as the button flap on the front. I folded the fabric in half length-wise so that I had a 3″ wide folded strip of fabric that extended the length of the onesie torso. I pinned the flap to the zipper edge and sewed the flap into the costume as I was sewing the zipper. This was probably a sloppy way to do this, but it was quick and easy and just a Halloween costume! I then sewed some nice big buttons to the front of the flap for decoration and held the flap closed over the zipper with a hook-and-eye closure at the top.

I added the tail next. I used a taupe-colored fleece and free-handed the outline of a tail swoop on a double thickness of fabric. I sewed up the tail, leaving a small opening where it would attach to the onesie so I could turn it right-side-out and stuff it with pillow poly-fill. I ended up stuffing the tail a little more than I had intended, so I made sure to sew it high enough up on the costume that I could flip it up if I wanted to sit down. It’s all about comfort for me on Halloween!

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I finished the onesie with some whiskers and claws. The claws were easy. I just cut out some mitten-shaped pieces and as I sewed them together, sewed in some triangle-shaped claws. The paw pieces were only connected to the costume at the back of the hand, just covering the fingers and leaving the palm exposed. This let me keep a better grip on my beer and let me slip them off easily when I needed to.

The whiskers didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped. I meant to go to the Hardware store and pick up some black electrical wiring to use as the whiskers but ran out of time and had to make do with what I had at home. I ended up using some pink pipe cleaners that I tightly wrapped with black yarn. I bent them in half forming a V-shape, cut two small snips in the hood of my onesie and slipped the pipe cleaner through. I tried to hand stitch them into place but found that they were too floppy and didn’t stick out the way I would have liked. I think they needed a support sewn on but I had just flat out run out of time, so I left them as they were!

The crown was the easiest part. I just took gold-colored bristol board. It was white on one side, so I cute the sheet in half and glued the two wrong sides together so that both the inside and the outside of the crown were gold. The fur around the bottom is just a feather boa wrapped around a few times and stapled/glued in place! I didn’t bother with the scepter because I figured it was just one more thing to keep track of and would probably get lost at the bar anyway.

All-in-all, I think it turned out pretty well!!

But Pete was definitely the star of the evening! All night people were running up to him to compliment his costume or even pose for pictures with him! And he was such a good sport, obliging every time 🙂

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Clearly, the head was the major effort in the construction of this costume. I found a fantastic Instructables tutorial and used that as my jumping off point. They do a much better job of documenting the process and anyone interested in trying this out for themselves should definitely take a look.

As in the Instructables tutorial, I started with a cardboard ring that would serve as the top of the monster’s mouth.
2012-10-14 14.24.10I wanted the head to be huge and oversized, but didn’t really think about how heavy it would get once everything was attached. Poor Pete was walking around with about 5 lbs of extra weight on his head! As an after thought, I wondered if constructing the whole thing around a bicycle helmet for stability would have been a better idea.

I built up the spaces with more cardboard formed around my head, then lined the inside with a cheap skin-colored spandex fabric. To form the head I also built an outer shell out of cardboard that connected the base of the head to the bit sticking out at the top. I then spray glued poly-fill to the outside of it and covered the whole thing with more of the spandex fabric, attaching it with a combination of hot glue, spray glue and staples.

SAMSUNGAt this point I had what looked like a mushroom head that I could carefully balance on my head. As a side note, I think this would be the perfect base for a Super Mario Toad costume!!

The basic construction of the head was by far the most difficult part. After that it was just decorating which, while time consuming, wasn’t too technically difficult. I had sewed the facial features out of bits of felt, then used a combination of hot glue and hand sewing to attach them to the face. I managed to find the perfect fur to frame the face! It was so shaggy that I really didn’t need to be careful while cutting it and gluing it, the seams weren’t visible. I hot glued/spray glued the fur to the head and made sure to leave a flap at the back to cover Pete’s neck. The horns were just little felt tubes that I sewed and stuffed, then hand stitched to the fur.

SAMSUNGAt this point it occurred to me that I had in no way considered how I was going to attach the lower jaw. When I referred back to the Instructables tutorial I realized that I didn’t have any foam and wasn’t going to be able to construct the lower jaw the same way they did. What I did instead was to cut a jaw shape out of cardboard and covered that with fabric. I used an Exacto knife to cut to slits on either side of the face on the underside and just kinda shoved the jaw up in there. It came out a couple times during the night but I would just cram it back in and, remarkably, it held up pretty well!

SAMSUNGThe teeth were just doubled up pieces of felt. I lined the mouth with red felt and cut little slits in it that the teeth inserted into. With a little spray glue, they held up pretty well!

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Pete’s job was to find pants and a sweater that we could use for the costume. For the sweater, I just spray glued strips of the same fleece I used for Max’s tail onto a brown sweater Pete had. Infinitely easier than trying to sew him a brand new shirt, and with all the effort I’d put into the head, I was looking for infinitely easier options! The pants were equally easy. We just took a black Sharpie to some old slacks and drew on some scales.

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I made Pete’s paws the same way I made my own and hand stitched them to the cuffs of his sweater. The tail is just a tube of fur, I didn’t even bother hemming it. I was worried about directly attaching it to the pants because I thought it might get pulled off through the course of the night. Instead, I sewed a loop at the top of the tail and he just looped it into his belt!

And there you have it! A couple’s Where the Wild Things Are costume!

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Lobster Mittens (Free Pattern!)

One of the most complimented clothing items that I own is a prized pair of mittens I picked up at the end of a pier in Halifax, Nova Scotia. These bad boys, featured prominently in the bad ass photo below, occasion comment from strangers nearly every time I wear them.

A few months ago, my boyfriend’s friend was in San Francisco visiting and gushed over the mittens. Having recently taken up knitting again two years ago I said to myself, “Self, now is the time to recreate the lobster mittens”. And here you have it folks, the lobster mittens replica.

I’m pretty pleased with how they came out! And they’re my first intarsia pattern that actually worked! You can find the pattern for the lobster intarsia for free at the end of the blog. I knit this on worsted weight yarn using off-white, red and a wee bit of black (just for the eyes) and I think I was on about a US7 needle.

Now, here’s the place I’d love to be able to write out an amazing tutorial for producing the perfect intarsia. Only problem….I don’t actually know how to do them properly, I just kinda made it up. There are plenty of good tutorials online to help you though. I did come up with a couple tips while doing this one though.

1. It’s way easier to do intarsia neatly if you’re not knitting in the round. I normally do mittens on double-pointed needles but to make these mittens I opened the pattern up then sewed a seam down one side to connect front to back on the mittens at the end.

2. I found it easiest to have three balls of yarn going when knitting the lobster; two balls of the off-white and one of the red. I would knit to the lobster, drop the first off-white and switch to the red. Then I’d knit the lobster section of the pattern, and when I hit the edge, switch to the second ball of off-white. What this did was kept me from having to carry yarn along the back of mitten. Last time I tried to do that, I didn’t keep proper tension and the adorable toque featuring copulating deer that I had made was way too small for the intended recipient with no stretch at all.

Please don’t reproduce this pattern on your website. If you’d like to feature this pattern, please link back to this blog post. Thanks!

Sorry it is not more of a tutorial, but I feel there are many more qualified on the web than I on this particular subject. I’m not sure how to post a link to a downloadable .pdf file for the pattern, so you’ll just have to go off this until I figure it out.

So that’s it folks! Go forth and knit!