Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Upholstery Skirt

The other day I finished working with some of the beautiful fabrics I bought recently (some of which I used to make cushion covers)
This time around, the fruit of my labour was a long skirt:

Though I'm very much a jeans wearer, I have a penchant for long skirts! This one was very simple to make--I sewed bands of fabric together and then cut the pattern from that. The skirt fastens with a zip, which I got for free when my grandmother had a turn-out.
So this skirt cost me around £3.50 to make, excluding the thread!

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Don't Panic: Last-Minute Gifts You Can Make

T'was the night before Christmas,
And all through the house...
Panic set in! You haven't a present for Aunty Nora!

It's not quite the night before Christmas yet, but with a week until the big day, a fair few of us could be engaging panic mode: forgotten presents, relatives difficult to buy for…this time of year can become a nightmare! 

Unfortunately Oh! brings you some suggestions for handmade gifts and stocking fillers that can be whipped up in anything between half an hour and a day.

Handmade Book tutorial

A handmade book makes a great gift, but can also make a nice scrapbook of memories. In college I made three of these as part of my photography course, to display final-piece prints.
Like most of the tutorials that will appear on this blog, a handmade book is really quite easy to make!

Time needed: 30 minutes (approx) to make blank book, plus decorating/filling time.

You need:
Paper or thin card to form the pages of the book
Thicker card for the cover*
Fabric to cover your book
Multi-purpose glue
Paper glue e.g. pritt stick
Needle & thread

* In this tutorial I used card from an old packaging

Washer Bracelet tutorial

This bracelet made of washers and cord is an ideal stocking-filler for a guy (or a tomboy!) but the concept can also be adapted.
Here's a how-to!

Time needed: 15-30 minutes

You need:
Assortment of washers
Leather cord*
Tape measure

* I used vinyl cord because I had some lying around!

In this tutorial, I used 2m cord + 11 washers, which made a 7.5" bracelet

"Charming Bracelet" tutorial

This charming bracelet is so easy to make--but do it right and it looks far more expensive than something homemade!
Here's a simple tutorial.

Time needed: 30 minutes (approx)

You need:
Bracelet made of fairly big chain
Ribbon (90cm/35.5" ribbon for a 16cm/6.5" bracelet)
Head pins
Jump rings
Jewellery-making pliers

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

A Classique Bauble

A gift-with-purchase from Debenhams. I think this is very cute and stylish--a Christmas tree bauble, inside which is a miniature of Jean Paul Gaultier's fragrance, Classique Femme. 

I absolutely love the design of Gaultier's perfume bottles! For me, the design of the bottle is a major attraction. When shopping for fragrance, I'm more likely to try a perfume in-store if it has a pretty bottle than a plain bottle.
Attractive packaging doesn't necessarily denote a nice fragrance, but it looks much better on the dressing table! 

Looking at my perfume collection, most of it comprises of pretty bottles! 

Full-Size L-R: Yves Rocher - Babinours, Vivienne Westwood - Boudoir, Rochas - alchemie, Gaultier - Summer fragrance, Anna Sui - Sui Love, Anna Sui - Sui Dreams
Miniatures L-R: Givenchy - Organza, Nina Ricci - L'Air du Temps, Gaultier - Fragile, Gaultier - Classique (Parfum & Eau de Parfum), Givenchy - Amarige

Continuing on the subject of perfume, Patrick Suskind's book, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer is brilliant, as is the film adaptation.

Charitable Cushions

These cushions were all made with fabric that came from a charity shop! Recently some really beautiful fabrics came into my local charity shops, so I had to buy some! Most was fabric for upholstery and curtains/blinds, but I ended up buying lots of it with the intention of making a skirt. The skirt itself is yet to be made--watch this space!

The two cushions above were made using a combination of the aforementioned upholstery fabric, and some purple cord that I bought around 8 years ago. Originally I made a basic skirt from the cord (hand-sewn, since it was in the days before I owned a sewing machine!) for a fancy dress costume. The cord is actually part of a Clothkit for trousers, so has pattern lines printed on it--this makes the fabric a little more interesting than plain cord!

This last cushion is a Christmas present for my Nanny! She loves things with sentimental poems on, and she loves cushions, so after I saw the poem I decided to combine the two!
Again, the fabric came from a charity shop.
I embroidered the poem on with chain stitch, making use of an embroidery hoop (again, from a charity shop!) to keep the fabric taut.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Narnia, Sussex

Narnia came to my village last week, with the snow and ice that disrupted the whole country!
Businesses were closed, people were stuck at home--but everywhere looked pretty and magical. 
I donned my Union Jack print wellies and went for a walk with my camera. Here's a picture I snapped whilst out. Very reminiscent of Narnia, huh?

Haramaki: Are you feeling 'genki'?

Image from haramaki.co.uk
Haramaki are a Japanese garment worn around the stomach area beneath clothes (the name translates as 'belly band') 
My Mother gave me one of these yesterday, made by Genki Haramaki. (元気, or 'genki' translates from Japanese as 'health(y)')
The haramaki was meant to be part of my Christmas present, but in light of the recent snow and freezing temperatures, she gave it to me early! 

The Haramaki claims to aid well-being and help the wearer to stay warm - by keeping the organs warm it helps the body to distribute warmth and energy more evenly - and boost circulation, so no more cold fingers and toes! 

Having worn it for a day, I can already say that the Haramaki is effective! I constantly suffer from cold fingers but wearing the Haramaki I can already notice the difference--my fingers are warm, rather than icicles! 

Here's what the folk at Genki Haramaki have to say about their product:

Wear at home to relax, in bed for more restful sleep, or during sports and outdoor activities to avoid chills.  Our haramaki uses only the softest cotton, gentle enough to be worn directly against the skin, or as a stylish outer layer.

Keeping the abdominal organs warm helps the body distribute warmth and energy all-round. Circulation is improved, so even hands and feet feel warmer. Wearing the haramaki can also:

- Aid digestion
- Ease menstrual cramps
- Give support during and post-pregnancy
- Soothe common abdominal ailments

Interested? Genki Haramaki has its own store, where you can find the products in all colours and sizes. Alternatively, try Victoria Health, a fantastic online store with a huge choice of health and beauty products (including gifts), excellent customer service and extremely fast shipping--I've made orders at 4.30pm and only selected regular shipping, but still received my package the next day!

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Pink Peppercorn Chocolate

I was given this chocolate recently! Dolfin dark chocolate with pink peppercorns. It has a very unusual but nonetheless delightful taste and I fully recommend it to anyone that likes to try new things!
...it's particularly good with a cup of tea!

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Eye Patch Tutorial #2: Scissors & Glue Version--Pirate Style!

Another repost, from 'Eye Patch Tutorial #2: Ghetto Scissors-and-Glue version--pirate style!'
Apologies for lack of photos; hopefully diagrams will suffice!

(Looking to make a Gothic Lolita-style square eyepatch? Try this!)

Not everyone has the skill, motivation or time to screw around with a needle and thread, and there is more than one way to make an eye patch!
This is a quick, basic tutorial on how to make a more pirate-style eye patch.

You’ll need:
All-purpose glue
Ribbon/similar to tie your eye patch on

You might need:
Any embellishments you want
A glue gun

Remember you’ll be wearing this against your eye. If making an eye patch from fabric like velvet or fake fur, you might want to consider a cotton backing (just imagine the fibres getting in your eye--ouch!)

Eye Patch Tutorial #1: Square & Sewn

A repost from 'Eye Patch Tutorial #1: Sewn Version'
Unfortunately I don't have any photographs of the making process; instead there are diagrams drawn for the original tutorial.

(Looking for something more piratey? Check out my pirate-style eye patch tutorial!)

Eye patches are a fun way to change your look, whether it's for a party, a photoshoot, or just for the hell of it. However, it's difficult to get hold of anything beyond the standard black plastic pirate eye patch found in fancy dress shops.
Here's an easy tutorial on how to make your own.

You’ll need:
Scrap card
Ribbon or elastic

You might also need:
Interfacing (light-medium weight; for thinner fabrics)
Any embellishments you want to add (lace, trims, roses, etc)

Remember you’ll be wearing this against your eye. If making an eye patch from fabric like velvet or fake fur, you might want to consider a cotton backing (just imagine the fibres getting in your eye--ouch!)

Fabric French Fancy Tutorial

Another repost; original is here

I made the above ‘French Fancies’ - using repurposed fabric (the pink used to be trousers!) and leftover sewing materials - for a Recycle and Remake window display. (Real ones would either go off or get eaten!)

Here’s a quick and easy tutorial.
You’ll need:
Fabric (or felt, if you want to go for a spongier look)
Toy stuffing or similar
Embroidery thread
Multipurpose glue

Pearly Necklace Tutorial

You’ll need:
Embroidery thread in your chosen colour (1-2 bundles)
Pearly beads
Necklace clasp
Two jumprings/splitrings

The needle you use needs to have a big enough eye for the thread, but be small enough to go through the beads!

Fur & Claws Scarf Tutorial

An updated version of 'Quick & Easy Furry-Claw Scarf Tutorial'  It's a tiny bit more involved, but has a better result! The old version didn't have any method of securing the scarf other than a big pin, this time around I've put in an elastic loop to thread one end of the scarf through (and remembered to take photos as I made it!)

You'll need:
Fake fur (approx. 116cm x 30cm)
Vinyl/fabric for claws
Needle & thread

Bright as a Button!

Bright as a button!

Whilst rooting through my Mum’s button box, I happened upon some gorgeous vintage buttons that belonged to my great grandmother, and started to wonder, how long have we been using these buttons anyway? And what could I do with them?

A Brief History
Buttons have been used for millennia. Archaeologists have found buttons dating back to the Bronze Age--that's more than 3,000 years ago!
Yet buttons weren't going to be used as fastenings until much later. People of the Bronze Age used them purely for decoration, and made them from of all kinds of material such as wood, bone and metal.

By the age of the Romans and Greeks, the button was still used for decoration, but eventually they began using them as fastenings by putting them through loops of thread.
Buttons were brought to Europe by the 13th Century, and it's believed that the traditional button hole originated from Germany.

As with any new gimmick, buttons became extremely popular by the mid-14th Century and as time went on, historical figures such as Henry VIII and Louis XIV were known to wear ensembles absolutely bedecked with buttons.

Famously, metal buttons were said to have been added to the cuffs soldiers' uniforms during the time of Napoleon to stop soldiers wiping their noses on the sleeves!

In 1860's London, Pearly Kings and Queens emerged--people wearing costumes covered in tens of thousands pearly buttons. Obviously these were a great tourist attraction, and occasionally these characters can be still be seen.

The world has since seen novelty buttons in all shapes and sizes. Buttons began to be produced in plastic and hence became less special, but there are still thousands of avid collectors out there!

Sources & More Info:
The History of the Button

Things to do...
So what can you do with buttons, anyway?
Once you step away from the idea of the simple fastening, there’s a great number of ideas for customisation or other projects that utilise buttons.

Here’s a few inspiring links:
www.buttonjewellery.co.uk has many pre-made items that you can buy if you’re not so keen on making your own!

Button necklace tutorials:
[1] [2] [3]
*If you have a lot of buttons you could also make a stacked button necklace by threading them together as you would beads.

Button bracelet tutorials:
[1] [2] [3]

Other ideas
Embellishment for shoes
Woven Button Coaster
Button Pillow
Button-decorated purse 

In Customising Cool Clothes, Kate Haxell suggests using buttons to embellish a waistcoat, pockets and turn-ups. Likewise you could use buttons on collars, bag straps, headbands, hats, cuffs and hems!

...and for a bit of fun:
Ginormous Button Pillow@Instructables

button necklaces and pocket embellishment
Left & Right: Button necklaces made by a volunteer at Sussex-based charity Humanity at Heart.
Centre top: Plastic button & chain necklace
Centre bottom: Button detail on pocket

Friday, 3 December 2010

Formerly Fabulous

After years of trying to maintain a public LiveJournal for crafts and whatnot, I'm moving here. New start, new name!

I plan to repost a lot of the tutorials from my previous blog and will update some with better pictures/instructions.

Until then!
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