Archive for the ‘clothing’ Category

Circus Swing and Twitter

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Firstly, and contrary to the order suggested by the title, I am on Twitter now! If you follow me, I’ll love you, and while I can’t promise you it’ll be forever, I can promise several decades. If that’s not enough, like my page on Facebook too. That’ll lock you in for the longterm.

Now, the important part!

I have, possibly, a new favourite band. Which is nice, because for ages, when people ask who my favourite band is, I’ve said “Errrrm. Maybe the Cure? Probably. I’m not sure”.

Anyway, my new favourite band is the astonishingly magnificent Gabby Young and Other Animals. They invented the genre of Circus Swing, which anyone who knows me will realise is the reason the downstairs neighbours were banging on the ceiling last night because I was jumping for joy TOO MUCH. Eat it, downstairs neighbours! Ain’t no such thing as too much joy.

I ran out and bought their new album, The Band Called Out For More, and ran back, realised that the friend I was staying with didn’t have a CD player, and spent the rest of the evening listening to the few of their videos I could get to load on my phone whilst sketching circus swing designs. Here are some pictures!


























The imaginatively named Circus Trousers! Will these get made? Yes they will! Next week, I think. Will they get made in my size? Yes, if I don’t have anyone in mind, it’s easy to check the fit if I make them to fit me. Will they make it as far as my etsy store without me deciding I want to keep them? No comment.




























The Ringmistress Tailcoat! Will it get made? Damn right! I have the fabric right here. Does it look more like a morning coat than a tailcoat? Why yes, yes it does. Is that because I forgot what a tailcoat looked like and got confused? No comment.

Possibly the cutest thing I’ve ever made

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

The other day my landlady wanted some bits of fabric to make lavender bags with. I had a dig through the “lightweight” crate, and found some bits for her. Among them was some green gingham, which I bought several years ago now, and never got around to using. Seeing this, I suddenly had an idea for a top, and the rest was actually not history, but hours of me getting frustrated with my sewing machine’s apparent inability to shir properly, and THEN, when I had sorted that out and altered the design a bunch and then realised that it would actually work and look awesome and got excited about it, THEN it was history.


It’s not really finished yet, it needs a few seams finishing up and so on, but the outline is done! It’s a super lightweight, polycotton lined halterneck summer top, with BOWS! Bows are super cute. Ask anyone.

So there you have it! I’ll get it finished up and find a pretty girl to model it for me, and then it will be for SALE! Also, I think I’ll add more bows.

How To: Repair Stitching in Jeans

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

I recently found a great pair of Ralph Lauren jeans in a charity shop, for just £4! They are in great condition, and they fit like a well fitting pair of trousers! (I would have said a glove, but I have only the two legs).

Anyway, the only damage to them, which honestly I didn’t notice until I got them home, was that some of the stitching around the fly had come undone. Fortunately, I could repair it, and I took some pictures at the same time!


Standard sewing machines use a stitch called “lockstitch”. This is a two thread stitch in which the upper thread is pushed through the fabric, looped around the lower thread, and then pulled back through the hole through which it came. This means that if either thread¬†breaks, the other thread unravels, and that’s what happened here.



It seems that the stitching has been broken by the buttonholes, as this had happened in two places in the same line of stitching. You need to repair the stitching, but it’s not necessary to match the thread- you want a much finer thread, and it will not be seen, so any colour will do.


1. Begin the repair by stitching the thread around the existing, broken thread, and pick up just a few strands of the fabric, without going all the way through. Do this for between five and 10 stitches- this will lock the broken thread in place and prevent it from undoing more stitching.






2. Now, judging from the existing stitch length on the face, push the needle through the fabric about one stitch length from the last completed stitch.



3. Pull the needle through, move the loose top thread to one side, take the needle over the it, and then push it back through as close to where it came through as you can. Repeat steps two and three for as many stitches as necessary, being careful to leave the same distance between each stitch. Be sure to pull the thread down fairly hard, so it doesn’t show on the top side.


4. Once you’ve done all the stitches, finish off in the same manner as step 1, being careful to fix the broken thread in place. Et voila! One super neat line of stitching!





So that’s how I repaired my jeans! As long as the top thread isn’t broken, it saves the hassle of trying to match the thread colour, and results in a neat, strong line of stitching. If anyone’s got this problem but the top thread *is* broken, drop me an email or leave a comment, and I’ll post a tutorial on how to sort that out. I hope that helps! Leave a comment if you use this method!


This is, I think, the first How To post I’ve done on here. I really ought to do more, and I probably will, so watch this space! In the meantime, if there’s anything you’d like to know how to do, and you think I can tell you, drop me a message or leave a comment!


Monday, January 30th, 2012

Until the great server crash of ’10, there were lots of lovely pictures of steampunk stuff that I’ve made on here. Now they are gone, and I am sad. That’s no way to live! Here are some pretty pictures, and a little explanation of what Steampunk means to me.

Steampunk has appealed to me ever since I first found out above it. Far beyond its aesthetic, it is its maker mentality, and love of mechanical beauty that I love.

Imagine the world never discovered silicone, but that our technology somehow continued apace, powered only by steam, springs, levers, and lightning. I added that last one because it sounded nice.

Then imagine people decided to wear awesome waistcoats ALL THE TIME.

Purists will tell you that I am talking about a mish mash of steampunk, clockpunk, raygun gothic, mad science, and any number of other cool sounding things, but I am not in this for the labels. I am in it for the waistcoats.

The people of this imaginary time, then, seem to be trapped permanently in a 1970s colour palette, but good lord do they ever love it. Brown? Yes. Yellow? Yes. Brown WITH yellow? Oh my.

That said, I do not subscribe to the school of thought that it has to be brown to be steampunk. I’ll rock me some blacks, reds, maybe a green or two. Grey is steampunk as hell.

I’ve made a goodish bit of steampunk stuff that you can check out on our Etsy store! Here are some links:

The rather smart waistcoat that you can see in the picture there. Sorry I couldn’t find a better model!

A Bookpouch in which you can put books. You can also put other things in it!

A Belt, for the holding up of trousers. It’s all in the accessories, people!

Here also is a Minikilt that is both cute and awesome. It was hard to get both of those attributes in one place!

Finally, if you have so much money that your trousers are falling down even eith the belt, why not spend some on these rather nice Suspenders? This will lighten your pockets, AND you’ll have additional support for your trousers. They’ll never come down again!


Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

One of the blogposts that was lost recently was about a pair of yoga pants I made for a friend. Over the years I’ve been making clothes, I’ve been given many old items that would have gone out, or gone to charity, and among them, I had a crateful of t-shirts. When my friend asked me to make her said yoga pants, I realised that this was a chance to use some of them up.

The result is the riot of colours and designs you see on the right. She wanted them loose and comfortable, with a deep crotch, so I just made up some rough templates, laid out bits of fabric to fit, and stitched the whole lot together, adding an elasticated waistband at the top, and some ruffles to the ankles.

Today, I will be making my mother’s christmas present, and she also wants yoga pants, although ones that are rather more sober than these, and also a rather different fit. Pictures to follow!

El Coronel Ocell

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

On my last visit to Barcelona, I was fortunate enough to see Marta in her theatre group’s production of El Coronel Ocell, or Colonel Bird.

As much as I enjoyed the play, this was special for another reason. It was the first time my name had appeared on a programme for something I have made. The first time, I hope, of many. My name is on the left hand side. Enlarge the picture to see it properly.


And a picture of them in action:
In action!

Also, check out Marta lying on the floor down there!

These jackets were made from a heavyish polycotton twill. Five were identical, for the regular soldiers, and one was a little longer to make the Colonel seem more authoritative. I also embroidered badges for them all, since in the play, they are U.N. uniforms. Or possibly just U.N.iforms.

Catsuits and Dancewear

Friday, April 30th, 2010

Marta has long been interested in dance, and, when I met her, she was a keen oriental dancer, which is basically the smart name for bellydancing, as I understand it. All veils and shimmying and so forth. It was this which inspired me to make Marta a bustle skirt;

Bustle Skirt

This, with some tweaks to the original design, gave birth to this skirt(link to our Etsy page) which was made after someone saw Marta wearing hers casually, just over jeans, and literally ran over and asked her where she got it (with the benefit of hindsight, this story may have been made up by Marta for the benefit of my ego). Anyway, streams of consciousness aside, the idea behind the skirt was that it would really pick up on the hip movement that is so important in this particular dance style, and it also turned out to be pretty good for casual wear.

Since then, Marta has turned to a more traditional dance format, incorporating several styles, and, for rehearsals at least, she needed a one piece catsuit (Or mono as it is called in Spanish, which interestingly means monkey). This was just after I had bought my new sewing machine, with all it’s zig-zag capabilities, so I got right on it, and made her two, one from a lovely feeling, but horrible to work with cotton lycra mix, very stretchy, and the second from a pure, or as pure as lycra ever is, lycra.

Interestingly, I was sort of scared of working with stretch fabrics before this. I didn’t have a sewing machine that could sew them properly, my armless, legless dress form was not really suited to the business of templating, and I assumed that calculating for stretch would be hideously difficult. As it turns out, I know love stretchy fabrics! I have a bunch of projects to make finish right now, including a silk cocktail dress for my mother to wear to a ball in two weeks, but I am most looking forward to receiving the measurements of a client who wants a catsuit, so I can once more get my stretch on. (That last sentence marks the first time I have referred to myself as having a “client”. I feel terribly grown up!)

A further irony that has stemmed from the advent of the stretch era is that my way of making has no apparent relation to commercial methods; I recently saw a website where you could order a bespoke leather catsuit for around $900. Commercially, they are available, un-bespoke, for around $200-300. Naturally my methods mean that every garment I make is made individually, but it is weird that while I could make a bespoke leather catsuit (and for a lot less than $900, if anyone fancies one!), I have no idea how I would make a non bespoke suit.

Steampunk Corset

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

It has long been my belief that there are not enough tarnished brass buckles in the world. With the steampunk corset, Marta and I set out to rectify that. Fastening with buckles at the side, there is no need for either a busk or for lacing, and the corset should be easy to put on by onesself, without the irritation of having excess lacing hanging down the back or the need for a well built friend to get the damn thing laced up.

Steampunk Corset
(Image kindly provided by Marta)

It would probably be made of a heavy duty cotton, with plenty of interlining to make it pleasingly rigid and strong.

I am going to make this for etsy, hopefully quite soon. Quicker if someone says they are interested in it!


Thursday, March 11th, 2010

Marta’s royal outfit is done! I posted it off to her yesterday.

I haven’t taken any pictures of the bolero or the petticoat, but I have no doubt that some will be along at some point. Here, at least, is a picture of the dress, before I had done the hem, and looking great from the front, although at the back the zip was wide open to allow it to fit on my mannequin.

So now I am free to do a few other bits. Right now, I am working on my friend Kate’s christmas present. And it is only march! Admittedly I was meant to give it to her last year, but progress is progress! It is a Star Trek themed corset, which I started making quite a long time ago, before I had anywhere near the ability or knowledge to make it. This means that completing it is more a matter of making the best garment that I can from the nightmarish cluster of fabric that, if I recall, I told Kate would be finished “tomorrow”. That was the day I measured her.

Anyway, if there is one part of this project that I am quite pleased with, it is the logo that I embroidered, which is also the main reason that I didn’t want to start over again, because a lot of time and effort had gone into that little part.

After this is finished, which will hopefully not be too long, I am going to make another, much, much better corset for my cousin, now that I actually have some idea what I am doing. It’s going to be black coutil, based on a design from around the turn of the century. Pictures to come!


Sunday, July 26th, 2009

Some time ago, and it feels like a lot longer than it was, I discovered steampunk. It looked like fun, and I wanted to get involved, but there wasn’t very much going on outside of the US at the time.

Now, with the Etsy shop open, and with me in a better place for making things, I have decided to make steampunk clothes.

Making steampunk clothes is fun. I am making a waistcoat at the moment. I always get a little bored sewing buttonholes, but then, what is steampunk about buttons? Let’s replace them with some nice brown leather straps.

And wool, for a waistcoat? No, I much prefer canvas and other heavy fabrics.

It’ll be a little while before this waistcoat is ready, because it is going to be fairly heavily embroidered. But here is a little preview:

The embroidery is going to stretch all the way up the right hand side, with the straps and buckles taking up most of the left. I haven’t been this excited about something I have made since I knitted my first jersey!