Wire Wrapping

Just going through some old stuff as I sort out my workspace and open a lot of boxes I haven’t looked in for years. Here are some lovely masks I made:

The one above has just plain glass cabochons for eyes, but the one below I glued a paper iris and pupil to the back of it and it looks great. I can’t wait to make more of these. I need to do a class…

Upcycled Vegan Taxidermy

Here’s my latest taxidermy venture. This one’s made from poly felt and a butchered toy owl I found at a charity shop.

I need to work on the expression, but I’m pretty happy with it. I certainly learned a lot in terms of technique.

The ears are wire supported, but I think I would do it differently next time and sew the wire into the seam allowance for more poseability. I also had to do a lot of cinching with the eye area, so I might put them in from the inside next time.

If you fancy learning, and happen to be in the Sheffield area, I’m doing this as a course at Running With Scissors, so feel free to sign up!


Time for a cake interlude.

I can’t actually remember who I made this cake for or why. I mean obviously I made it because I love making crazy cakes. But I often have other reasons, like birthdays and weddings.

I haven’t made one of these in ages because of the lack of kitchen.

I am so on the cusp of making one though, I miss the making and the eating.

Shirt Course a Success!

Well, we certainly did it. Four people turned up for my first Shirt In A Day course, and although it took a lot longer than I thought (first person finished at 7pm, last person at 9:30) I am definitely calling it a success. I will just bill it as the Shirt In A Day CHALLENGE next time and see it coming that I’m going to give┬ápeople dinner!

The room, all set up with cutting mats and cutters, everyone’s patterns that I was worried about but that worked out fine.

And then everyone turned up and the fun began!

Most people had not experienced the wonder of a rolly cutter on a cutting mat before. Life changing.

So much faster and easier than scissors. Shout out to my ex husband for teaching me that trick.

Most of the participants had a fair amount of basic sewing skill and could do stuff like iron on interfacing without too much trouble. Only put it the wrong way up once!

Everyone got really into it, it was quite exhilarating to see people so engrossed.

Jack loved the pile of wooly scraps on the heated bench. Quel surprise.

And then it was done! Albeit later than I had anticipated. But the results were stunning. Rae did the most amazing pattern matching.

Ryan’s awesome wooly outdoor shirt will be so toasty.

And Steven’s chic, stylish and bold twist on the classic white shirt is going to look amazing under his tweed suit (watch this space).

Carol had to go to a party (life is hard) and didn’t have time to finish hers, so I’ll do that and post some pictures of it later.

So there you have it. It was such a great experience and I’ll definitely be doing it again. In fact, half price tuition to whoever gets back to me first with their preferred date!

Getting Ready…

…for tomorrow’s shirt in a day course. I’ve drafted 4 shirt patterns for people who were NOT PRESENT to test them on. Walking a new path here. I really hope tomorrow doesn’t turn into some nightmare where people make shirts from these patterns and they turn out to be shaped like parkas or doll shirts or anything.

Bring it on, even if it goes wrong, I can handle this.


This sweater I just finished would have earned me my knitting black belt if I hadn’t been aiming for it to fit me (chest measurement 42″) and accidentally made it fit my partner (chest 34″) but at least I get to look at it forever!

It took me many months, lost count, but I’m feeling pretty smug, I’ll be honest, just for having figured it out. It was based on a sweater I bought at Gap in about 1998, that I loved so much and wore so much that it’s amazing it lasted the 20 years it did, but it’s on its way out, so I decided to copy it.

The original was knitted in panels and sewn together, but I find that messy, faffy and ugly, so I did it in the round. And I had to learn to scale up the cable pattern because I could only find it online for two-stitch wide cables, and I needed it for four. Me and some square paper and a glass of wine got to grips with it though.

I even managed the funky shoulder detail. Now all I need to do is knit it all again with bigger needles so that I can wear one.

Regency Dresses for Average Size Ladies

Royal Exchange Costume Hire Dept has a million awesome costumes in sizes typical of actresses, since that’s who the costumes were made for. Actresses are more often of petite, slender stature than the rest of us, so one of my great joys is to make historical dresses to fit people who like their pie. Like me.

I had a ball (geddit?) making this regency dress for them, with some ends and scraps in the bin of exquisite fabrics but not enough of them to make much of anything.

The triple-pleated hem made it fall beautifully and the faux piping in the seams set off the shaping beautifully.

I’d drafted it on the XL dress dummy, since it’s not for a particular person but for generic slightly larger than very small women. But the below picture is a good illustration of my technique when drafting for a specific person. Just imagine a real person in a fitted t-shirt having bits of fabric pinned to them.

It really cuts out the middle man, as it were, and you get to start the show with a piece that actually fits rather than make many toiles on the way to there from a generic measurement chart. It’s especially important with people of unusual shape or proportions. Like me. But in this case, a shop dummy shape was fine.

I was especially pleased with my ruched cuffs.

And almost gleeful with my sleeve caps.

The tops are just an oversize satin sleeve tacked to the undersleeve below in various places to get that bubbly-ripply effect. The oversleeve pieces looked like this to start with:

And like this when inverted and pressed:

And the beads are really just there to set off the oversleeve from the undersleeve.

I mean to make more of these fancy sleeves. Maybe onto charity shop jackets…

That Couched Cording Thing…

…from an earlier post? This is how it came out.

The piece was born out of an overabundance of white fabric that came in the form of a costume that was used in Royal Exchange’s Anna Karenina being passed on to Costume Hire, but not in a form we could really use. So I hacked it apart and started again, as is my specialty.

The bodice/jacket/top I drafted straight onto a dress dummy; since the item would be for hire to the general public, therefore not having a particular real person to fit, a generic shape would do.

The fluted front was inspired by a photo of a similar victorian garment in a book (we have so many great books there) and the couched cord work is just something I fancied doing.

My favourite bit, though, was taking the original 12 foot train from the Anna Karenina dress and making it into an outrageous bustle. I do so love an outrageous bustle.