August 7, 2011

A crafty afternoon… organising.

The Cashmerettes had a fairly productive afternoon yesterday, what with the completion of my super-secret present (shhh!) and adventures in bird-making by Lauren.

However, nerd that I am, perhaps the highlight was the re-organisation of all my sewing stuff. Blimey I’ve got a lot! Gather Here better watch out, because I have at least half a shop’s worth of stuff in my apartment already.

Anyway, for those odd birds among you who would appreciate such things, you can see the fruits of my labour below:

July 28, 2011

Cashmerettes go a’birdin!

Jenny: Last night heralded a Cashmerette first – our inaugural class at Gather Here! We were joined by Honorary Cashmerette Melissa and the very talented Abby Glassenberg who taught us how to make our very own fabric birds from her new book, The Artful Bird.

As you can tell, we were somewhat excited to get started:

and who wouldn’t be, faced with the prospect of these beauties?

First, we learned an excellent trick that I had never heard of before: trace the parts of the bird’s body parts onto freezer paper, then cut them out and adhere them temporarily to fabric with a hot iron so that they act as templates stuck right on the fabric. Brilliant stuff. The photo below, by catching me unawares, reveals how much I secretly love the primary-school activity of tracing.

After cutting out the pieces- including an adorably small beak which I promptly lost- we began with the bird’s main body. We adhered the the freezer-paper body template to a piece of plain white cotton (Abby likes to use tightly woven cotton so that the seams don’t burst when you stuff it firmly) and sewed right around the template using the sewing machine on a very small stitch length (again, to avoid burst seams). Not forgetting, of course to leave a small opening at the bird’s, ahem, rear, for it to be stuffed (oh dear).

Melissa: This process of stuffing our birds may seem a bit sinister. We use surgical forceps to fill the bird’s body with fluff (wool or synthetic cotton) and then tie the wings with thread. We know, it sounds like the surgical practices of doctors in the 16th century. But hey, this is a fun sewing class and no birds are hurt in the process.

Once stuffed, this flat sack will soon turn into a pretty bird body.

Bag of real ole’ timey wool from Pennsylvania Dutch Country. (We didn’t use this, but thought it was cool enough to share)

Pick out the colors that will best suite your style and soon to be the vibrant tail feathers and wings of your fashionista birdie.Sew the wings to the body and tie a knot to secure. Don’t worry these wings are made of cloth and aren’t as delicate as the wings of a real bird. So go nuts with your stitch, the more creative you sew, the more attractive your bird will be.

Jenny: And here they are: three affectionately home-made looking birds! There even seems to be a bit of Jenny-Lauren bird love going on…

Though Lauren’s was giving her the beady eye…. eek!

All in all, a thoroughly splendid way to spend an evening. Who needs the pub when you can make fabric animals? Not us!

July 27, 2011

Busy bee

So, despite trips to France, Cincinnati and Cape Cod (#which one of these is not like the other?#) I have nonetheless been crafting away! Here’s a few highlights:

1. BUNTING! My first-ever. To celebrate America’s birthday on the 4th, and mine on the 2nd. In fact, I found super-patriotic fabric during the craft-swap at the ever-ace Gather Here, which was begging to be turned into something appropriate. Et voila: American bunting to make you wipe away a tear.

During construction chez moi:

And in action chez B!

(I should note however that I remained secretly subversive through the medium of cupcakes in Union Jack cases…)

2. I can EXCLUSIVELY REVEAL that one of my super-secret projects was my first-ever attempt at embroidery: a Tshirt for the soon-to-be Dr Rev M! M is fond of owls. Even purple and green and orange ones, that must speak a foreign language, for they say ‘Woot’ instead of ‘T-wit T-wooooo’ as good British ones do. In the meantime, M owes me a photo, which will soon be posted!

3. (3!) I copied Lauren and made my very own iPad cover! Now, you can’t tell to look at it but it is really quite wonky. However, it achieves the twin objectives of 1) protecting my iPad from scratching against everything in my handbag 2) having cool birds on it. Plus all the quilting mistakes are on the inside, hidden from those roving seam-inspectors that you always encounter on the street. I used material that I bought two years ago in Kyoto, which was previously fashioned into two cushions which were sadly languishing in my guest bedroom all alone. A quick seam-ripper later and here we are! Japanese birds protecting my new favourite toy.

4. (for there is a 4!) I have started another super-secret project, this time for my Mum. Due to the Sewing Cone of Silence, all will be revealed… at a later date.

Phew! Well I’m tired just thinking about all this work. And the stockpile of materials for future projects which are currently swamping my kitchen table, and preventing me from eating dinner in a civilized fashion. Another baby dress, some sheets, a cool wrap-behind-you-dress, and my quilt await.

July 27, 2011

Tweet tweet!

What’s better than little birds up in the trees?

MAKING little birds, that’s what!

And the Cashmerettes (plus special guest Melissa) will be crafting away this evening. Our flock awaits…. (and photos will follow).

July 6, 2011

Dress in action!

Proof that the dress has been worn *more than once*!

And while eating a deep fried Mars Bar. True Fact.

June 24, 2011

Who *wouldn’t* want to felt a strawberry?

Union Square’s “Union Made” festival with the lovely and crafty Melissa. The Gather Here team’s festival outpost. The opportunity to make a felt strawberry out of weird wool (technically, roving) using a barbed pin.

I mean, who wouldn’t?

June 24, 2011

My first wearable (?) dress

So, there have been a few ill-fated attempts at dress-making Chez Rushmore. Let’s just say none of them passed the ‘ good GRACIOUS that looks home-made by a half-blind gnome’ test (that’s an official test, by the way)
However with 10 months of dormancy behind me, I had clearly forgotten my humiliations, and set out one more time to make a dress, courtesy of my ever-trusty Chic and Simple Sewing Book a.k.a. the no-buttons, no-zips couturier’s dream.
I used some fabric my Mum bought me last summer, and with about two evenings’ work, I had an “Indian Summer Dress” all of my very own. I am quite-to-moderately pleased with it. The shoulders are kind of fun (they are ties), and there is a definite pleasure in a circle skirt. However, it was tricky to get the whole bust/waist ratio right (quelle surprise, regular readers), and it only really works cinched in with a belt.
However, the proof is in the wearing. And I must say that I felt confident enough to wear it to a fancypants dinner (with a brown cardie and some brown Camper wedge heels which rarely see the light of day), and then again to a lobster barbeque, at which a woman of considerable taste complimented me on it *while not knowing it was handmade*. Not too bad! Having since discovered French Seams, I do now have another roll of fabric for an attempt 2, and a slow-but-sure increase to my summer wardrobe.


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