Monday, 27 February 2012

Zombie Felties

Aaarrgh, it's an invasion of tiny felt zombies!  I've been making a few of these recently, from the very nice book Zombie Felties by Nicola Tedman and Sarah Skeate. 

There are 16 zombies to make in the book, all with very different personalities.  There's a Michael Jackson zombie, a pumpkin-headed Halloween type one, a pirate, fairy, undertaker, etc.

The instructions are nice and clear, and the zombies are constructed with a combination of sewing and gluing the smaller bits.  Each one took me about 3 hours to make.

The Classic Zombie was the first one I made, while the Zombie Dog was made by Mr Macska.  He had never sewn anything before, let alone embroidered, so I was very impressed!

I made the Day of the Dead zombie for Mr Macska for Valentine's Day!  I changed it slightly from the one in the book by adding small white seed beads to the ends of the white bugle beads so they looked more like bones, making the spine out of beads, and gluing two tiny circles of turquoise felt to the pelvis for a more realistic look.  I also mixed up the colours to make it brighter.

And for my friend Deb at work, who adores bats, I made this little Vampire Bat zombie!  I gave him a real chain monocle instead of silver string, but otherwise he is pretty much the same as the original.

The best thing about these little babies?  They are so small!  I put magnets on their backs so they can live on the fridge when they are not out munching on brains...

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Von Follies Underwear - Disappointing

I had been eagerly awaiting the launch of the Von Follies underwear collection by Dita Von Teese for Target.  So last week, I rushed into Target to have a look and to buy myself a whole lot of lovely underwear.  Well...I was a bit disappointed.

The Von Follies underwear comes in 5 different ranges - leopard satin, black lace over blue satin, black lace with red satin, black dotty mesh over nude, and black mesh.  Each range has a bra, three different styles of knickers (briefs, g-strings, and high-waisted), garter belt, and camisole (a fitted "dress" with built in bra cups and suspender straps on the bottom).

I suppose I should have expected this from Taget, but it all looks a  Lots of eyelash lace and too many different patterned fabrics.  The leopard knickers, for example, have leopard satin, black eyelash lace, black stretch lace and black mesh with a black velvet pattern of leopard spots.  Too much!

The bras are quite nice, they have fairly thick straps, sturdy hook-and-eye closures, and an interesting back.  They come in a range of sizes from 10B to 16E.  The bra bands are about a size bigger than normal (I'm usually a 12 and would have bought a 10).  For some reason they had no 10C bras, and I can't quite work out if they just didn't have them at Target, or if they haven't been produced at all. 

The lovely black lace overwire bra that was apparently Dita's favourite piece was not available, although there are rumours that there will be more styles available in March or April.

The knickers are sized on the small side - they are similar in sizing to Bonds knickers.  The high waisted ones are not really high enough to be vintage, as they only came up to my bellybutton and not right up to my waist (I know they look waist-high on Dita, but come on, she's miniscule and I'm sure they're pinned at the back).

I wouldn't bother with the garter belts except for prancing around the bedroom.  They are too loose for everyday wear, don't come right up to the waist, and only have 4 straps.  I'm really disappointed about this, as surely Dita knows what makes a good garter belt!

So after all that, I didn't end up buying anything.  I really think something like Elle McPherson is better quality and looks pretty much the same, and if you want real vintage have a look at Kiss Me Deadly or similar companies.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Fashion and Self-Esteem

I've got something a little different for you today, my first guest post!  Jackie Clark who does outreach for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance has written a post on how fashion can boost women's self-esteem, especially those who are diagnosed with cancer.  Hope you find this article some food for thought.

Boost Self-Esteem Through Fashion
By Jackie Clark

Self-esteem is an integral part of every woman’s life; whether hers is through the roof or much lower than it should be. Women as a species are incredibly critical of their own bodies, appearance and personality and spend far too much time beating themselves up about things they cannot change or wish they had the power to change. What so many women do not realize is that with positive self-esteem comes confidence and nothing makes a woman more attractive and appealing than her own confidence.

Some women beat themselves up about their jiggling thighs or their pale skin; others lack self-esteem because they can’t lose those last five pounds from their pregnancy or because their hair is never perfect. Those women are lucky; some women have lost their self-esteem, confidence and feeling of power because it was robbed from them when their doctor told them they have cancer. Whether it is a common form of cancer caught early or a rare form of cancer that is more difficult to treat, such as mesothelioma, learning that she has cancer is one of the fastest ways a woman loses her self-esteem. Suddenly she wishes her biggest problem in life were her jiggling thighs or the last five pounds of weight she put on while creating a life.

Confidence and self-esteem are such an integral part of how a woman feels about herself; losing these things in the wake of a cancer diagnosis can have a negative effect on the way a woman reacts to her treatment so it is imperative women do whatever necessary to build their self-esteem to better fight their cancer through treatments.

One way to cheer any woman up is through fashion. A new pair of shoes will leave a woman smiling for days; wearing them will make her feel confident and powerful. Add to that a new dress, such as form fitting, flattering and glamorous wrap dress that flatters every woman’s body and she will be feeling like a rock star in minutes. Fashion has this silent hold on women. Fashion makes women smile. It makes them happy and it makes them feel instantly better when they look in the mirror and see how amazing they look in a new dress, shoes or pair of jeans.

Fighting cancer is not easy; fighting it with fashion is. Fashion may not cure a woman of her cancer diagnosis but it sure will make her feel like a much better version of herself, which will improve her mood and confidence and make her immune system stronger and better able to fight the cancer through radical treatments. The next time a woman is feeling as though her self-esteem has taken a hit; she should head to the shoe store.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Australia Day dress

Here's a pic of a dress I just finished for myself.  I wore it to an Australia Day BBQ, so I dressed it up with yellow accessories for the good ol' Aussie green and gold look.

This is the pattern.  On the back it says "An entirely British production"! It's a pretty basic dress with two waist darts at the front and back, and tucks on the front shoulders.  The skirt is rather full dirndl, with a flat panel at the front with two tucks on either side.  The same on the back of the skirt.  The dress has a side zip.  I must admit that I didn't use the bodice pattern, but used a sloper that I've been drafting, and moved the underarm dart to the shoulder.

Here's a crappy photo of the back of the pattern envelope.  The instructions were very minimal - things like "now put in the side zip".  The only things I changed were to lower the neckline a smidge so it sat under my collar bone, and to shorten the skirt from tea length to knee length.

Would I make it again?  Well, I made it out of cheap cotton homespun, which creases really easily and because it's a plain fabric, it shows up every mistake or bit of uneven sewing.  So if I did make it, I'd probably choose a patterned fabric with a bit more body, maybe a polished cotton.  Secondly, the instructions said to face the neckline and armholes with bias strips.  I HATE cutting bias strips, so I made up my own facings, but I think I should have used bought bias binding on the armholes.  Thirdly, I don't know how flattering a high neckline is on me.  May change it to a scooped one.

This is the brooch that I wore with it, it has matching screw-on earrings.  It's probably from the 50s or 60s, and says Made in West Germany on the back.