Hello Thistledown Gang, today (or rather two days ago, this took ridiculously long to upload) I’m trying a different kind of video format on my channel: A sit-down-and-talk kind of thing, but with crafting.
I hope you enjoy it, and I’d love to read about your resolutions and projects in the comments! ♥
If you’ve been here a while you know I love a good challenge. You might also know that usually during November I’m waist-deep in NaNoWriMo projects, but this year I decided to accept my own challenge, facing the fact that closing the doors of my fabric closet are getting ridiculously difficult to close…
The idea for Sewvember was born out of frustration. I felt like all I ever did with my sewing was repairing stuff, patching things, some altering, doing lots of small projects, mostly for others. I felt like I neglected what brought me the most joy in sewing: creating something from scratch for myself, basically bending fashion to my will, or making something just for the fun of it. I felt like practical sewing took up all the space and energy I had for the creative use of fabric, and that bothered me. Even worse, I didn’t dare to start bigger projects anymore because I dreaded the chaos they would bring with them before I even made the first stitch. At the very same time, I saw all the potential in what feels like square miles of fabric in my stash and wanted to do something about it.
Through experience, I know that a challenge might help me with that. A month of creative folly, just sewing for myself, not just to keep things together but to create something new, and to finally get going on that fabric stash might be exactly what I need.
I’d like to invite you to join me in this challenge, maybe to hold each other accountable, or just to show off our new creations, but more on that at the end of the post. Before you get on board you might want to know what the rules are…
It’s easy, you make your own. The only set thing is that every day you should work on something sewn, but if that’s hand- or machine-stitched, a piece or a seam a day, by weight or surface, an hour or ten minutes each day: that’s completely up to you.
Here are the “rules” (more like guidelines, anyway) I set for myself:
Sew every day.
Use up a square meter of fabric each day (on average)
Alterations count for half their actual surface
No new fabrics, stash only!
Keep track of square meters, but also of lenght of ribbon, trim and lace used
Make at least 5 pieces for yourself only
Of course, there’s a list of things I want to make already. This is by no means exhaustive, just a few projects I’ve got on mind for this month:
Quilt something onto my wool thow blanket I use in Winter
Two stoppers to keep my balcony door open during Summer
Wool pants for my Edwardian worker aesthetic needs
A historical mystery project!
How about you? What are your projects this month, and are you going to join me in Sewvember (feel free to use the graphic on top of the post!)? I know, I know, I should have announced it earlier, but joining later is always a possibility (next year I’ll surely say something a week before or so).
Have a lovely month, no matter which challenges you face! ♥
A week ago someone from my LARP group turned 30 – my own big one is approaching fast, as well, and this year sees quite a couple of these in my circle of friends – so it was high time to finish this project.
He’s starting a courier business at the next game, and I assumed that a messenger can never have enough containers for important papers, complete with rings to hang it from a belt or sling it over the shoulder with a strap. I also wanted to test if I could make one of these the way I imagined it to work.
The scroll case is based around an old whiskey packaging – you know, those sturdy cardboard tubes with the metal lids. I wrapped it in old sofa leather, hunted down in the streets of Marburg long ago, first to glue it on and then to stitch it shut. The most complicated part was the lid, while I could just glue a cuff around the lower end I wanted to fully cover the upper, but with the lining that I added so the original inside of the whiskey tube wasn’t visible I had to change a few things.
I hammered the inside of the lid until it fit back in – not really elegantly done, I admit, but it works – and then added a piece of leather on top. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you how long it took me to actually add the last thin strip of leather around the edge to finally conceal the leftover bits of tin cap… Anyway, another challenging thing was hammering in those rivets – I couldn’t exactly open up the tube for them but wanted it to be somewhat sturdy (I think I used a rolling pin on the inside), and I think the trouble was worth it in the end.
Overall I’m happy how this project turned out (and I think the receiver liked it, too) and I think I might even make another one to conceal my camcorder at games so I don’t disturb the ambience if I decide to film.
Let me know if you’d want a tutorial on that in the comments! ♥
P.S.: I’m very much looking forward to my new camera. The phone is nice and convenient and everything, but it doesn’t beat the more traditional digital device.
Hello Thistledown Gang, and welcome to the very first instalment of Thrift Fixes, the part of my channel where I take thrifted, found, scavenged or already-there items and try to make them a bit more custom, comfy or pretty (your mileage may vary on that). Today: A strange wicker fish for our LARP camp!
I decided that for videos like this I might as well give you my voiceover notes, just in case you don’t feel like watching and want to read about the weird things I do for my hobby rather than watch. In the future (read: when I’ve acquired a decent camera again) I’ll try to document the projects by photograph, as well, but for now, this will have to suffice. But without further ado, here’s the weird fish!
First things first, I wanted the fish to have eyes, actual, cold, shimmery fish eyes. Thanks to a trip to the riverside a few days before I started this project I had the perfect material: river shells. I scrubbed them clean – dish soap and a toothbrush are your friend and look at how SHINY they got. Like, wow. So shiny. I estimated the size needed by putting a piece of paper over the eyes that were already there and hatching over them, just like you would do with inscriptions or engravings that you want to read better or take home. We did that in kindergarten, a lot. Was that just us? Let me know, I’m curious.
I then used chalk to get the size onto the actual shells and then… well, that first attempt wasn’t ideal, and neither was the second, and while sanding shells was interesting we will skip to the idea that actually works.
To save the shells from breaking and being completely wasted I glued them onto fabric scraps – this way they can break however they want but still stay in the desired shape. I justified this by telling myself that this – albeit with bone glue or birch tar or somesuch – would be an accessible method for the imaginary craftsperson who would have made this fish thing in-game. I’ve got priorities, okay? Anyway, after that, I could simply trim the shells with crafting scissors, which was incredibly satisfying.
Again estimating the probable materials I decided to paint the eyes with ink rather than a sharpie or acrylics – I’ve painted shell disks with ink before and it works beautifully. I use Windsor & Newton, who don’t sponsor me at all, by the way. I wish. I eyeballed the pupil and added a black ring around the iris to get more of a “cold, dead fish eye” stare and to visually even out the shape.
I ten decided that the whole wicker situation didn’t look sufficiently like it had been exposed to the elements for a while – far too shiny. I put the whole thing in the tub, doused it with bleach, left it overnight, rinsed it off and then set it out to dry in the heat for another day. Much better.
Now here’s the explanatory bit, namely the answer to “What the heck made you spend five Euros on that?!”: At LARP we play a group of coast guards. Medieval-renaissance-ish low fantasy coast guards. And we like maritime decor, of course. And this thing – the fish, that is – was so weird that, when I came across it at the thrift shop, I sent my group a text saying, “Hey, do we want this?” – and they said yes. I had already been out of the shop when I got their answers so I wasn’t sure if it would be there the next time I stopped by, but apparently, nobody wants a weird basket fish… except for me.
So the poor thing had dorsal fins and the tail, but no pectorals whatsoever, so I found myself a stick with enough forks to make some. Had I more patience I could have tried to find something closer to the original wicker, alas: I have none. It would be covered anyway. I sawed off the two most promising forks and whittled the ends flat so I could wedge them into the weave of the fish later. I decided to make them a bit more fluttery and flowy as opposed to the stiff wicker fins that the fish already had, considering that it would be outside most of the time and silk makes the best streamers EVER, so I ripped up a thrifted silk scarf I had around anyway. I didn’t only want two fins to flutter, however, so I started be weaving strips of silk through the dorsal fins. It took a bit of twisting to get ends that would push through well enough and I needed to stab the whole affair with a knife at some points, but eh. *shrugs*
I secured the ends with a few drops of glue, but in the end, only knotting them would probably have sufficed.
The tail fin was a bit different as I needed to reattach it as well, but I decided to work with some more silk strips here, too. I was going for some sort of fancy goldfish tail that would look good in the breeze, and the colours of the silk remind me of seaweed, which is just so lovely.
A lot of maritime decor in LARP, or anything that centres around water or the sea, really, is only shades of blue (or grey if people are feeling experimental and maybe moody), but when you look toat places like Britanny or Northern Germany or the Netherlands, for example, there’s a lot of yellows and greens going on, and I love this palette very, very much.
I attached the eyes next because I wanted that done before the pectoals made things a bit more unwieldy. I used glue again and held the shells in place with wires as they dried, which worked surprisingly well – it was the same wire I’d used as a needle substitute to be-silk the tail fin.
I wedged in the pectoral fins and first tried to glue them down, but in the end that neither worked nor was it really necessary, because the silk strips were enough. This time I used an actual darning needle because I needed to be a bit more precise, working inside the fish and everything. I did a super simple – that’s not even a weave, is it – and then installed some more streaming potential along the sides. The silk weaving really took the most time in this project, the best part of the around four hours of footage that I gathered.
The eyes weren’t what I wanted them to be just yet, though, and were lacking structure. After some experiments, I re-used the wicker chain links of the original fastening of the fish for the ridges by cutting them open and wiring them into rings, and attatched them with more silk and again the biggest darning needle that I own. I might have to re-do these at some point, the knots loosened a bit, but other than that the thing held up fabulously.
Anyway, in the end, I just added a rope handle and now we have a weird fish in our camp. We used it for some LED candles this year, which was strange, but in a cute way, and I think everyone just adopted this thing as a mascot.
I’m really looking forward to make more of these videos. Altering things, bending them to my aesthetic wishes, is one of my favourite pasttimes and I really like to share my trial-and-error experiences as well as the things I actually know.
Finished Things Saturday is the (usually) bi-weekly counterpart to my UFO Fridays. While there I show you what I’m working on, FinThSat is about finished projects – I used to think that small things weren’t worthy of a separate post but now I just put them in this feature and feel less silly about it. They deserve it! For more FinThSats, look here.
Last time I mentioned this project was only a few days ago – last year. I would be lying if I said that this was my oldest UFO. It wasn’t.
Anyway, while wrapping our bread in kitchen towels was okay and nice and everything this makes it so much better and well-rounded. You can even take the bag to the store for packaging-free breakfast rolls!
I love this linen, it’s just so pretty and sturdy and rural. It’s slightly uneven which is typical for and beautiful about old linen bedsheets. They are among my favourite things to spot in thrift shop because you can use them for just everything.
I think next time I would work on making the nerd reference a bit more visible in the pie design (but not too obvious, hence not the classic cake-with-cherry-on-top one would expect), but all in all I’m pretty okay with the outcome.
What are you working on at the moment? I’d love to read about it in the comments! ♥