Completed Project: a cloak (or ruana?) made from a Didymos leafage baby wrap

img_0306

I’ve been working on a lot of things lately, but today I completed something new and different for this blog.   For some reason I’ve been obsessing over cloaks (I suppose it is a winter thing?)  I even bought a Folkwear Moroccan “burnoose” pattern, but then the thrifted wool blanket I had was too small for it.  My fabric stash wasn’t any help either.  (I have several lovely wools without enough yardage for the big and flowing garments I like.)  Eventually I went down a Google rabbit hole, and I think I came around full circle to the reason I noticed cloaks in the first place: using woven baby carrying wraps to make them.

I don’t believe I’ve written about baby wearing or wrapping, but I have a few lovely wraps.  One, leafage by Didymos, is particularly stunning in my opinion.  (It is also wonderfully comfortable and cushy to wrap with.  The best of all I have tried.)  It is half wool and half cotton, and the wool is what makes it a great carrier for me.  It is also gorgeous with scrolling green foliage in a sort of art nouveau design.  I just had to make a cloak with some of this fabric.

IMG_2215.jpg

So I did.  I began measuring and cutting a felted size six last night.  (Felting makes wraps entirely unsuitable for baby wearing.)  It measured 5cm narrower and 20cm(or was it half for 40cm?  I can’t remember) shorter than it originally had been.  The felting probably makes it a little warmer and the wrong side looks nicer for a cloak, but compared to my carrying wrap I’m rather sad at how the right side looks.  I can’t really source and make another though, so hopefully it doesn’t bug me after I am used to it.  Didymos wasn’t kidding not to tumble dry.  Oops.  With my wrap I was cautious but wondered if I really had to hand wash and air dry, but YES to hand wash only.  For real.   Do not use a machine for leafage, and especially not a dryer on air dry!  Regrets!  Closeups of felting:

 

There is a vendor in the UK that turns wraps, generally Firespiral, into cloaks and ponchos regularly, but I found little web presence other than theirs.  Oak Wren is what triggered my longing for a cloak at the start, well besides any trip to a renfaire.

Cloaks are fairly simple items, but there are some variations for hood and fullness and even piecing.  I thought I wanted to use my usual 18th century inspired hood, and a wrap requires piecing.  Ideally, I thought, I’d prefer a 2 metre piece for the left and the right side of the body to have metre draping front and back from my shoulders, but mine had to be less than that.  It turns out to be plenty long except perhaps if I want to throw it over my shoulder.  At the last minute I changed the hood to a slightly (2″ more at the centre) pointed one.   I’m still not certain that I should have, because that always seems too renfaire for real wardrobe piece, but I’m not likely to re-do it.

 

The next thing I decided was to keep the original hems and match them on all cut edges then hand whipstitch the pieces together with linen thread like things were sewn centuries ago.  This allows for lovely flat seams and would be the easiest way for me to go about it.  After all, I didn’t want to trim or unpick anything only to restitch a bulky felled seam or something.  Along this same train of thought I also decided not to cut a neck hole.  It seemed like I could treat the V left at the end of centre back like a godet and insert the hood.  It worked out just fine and made construction a breeze.  I was even able to complete the entire thing in what amounts to a day!  I’m not used to that anymore, and it was so great!

IMG_0302.jpg

And the complete cloak:

 

I think it looks better on me than the dress form, but please excuse the mirror shots and my lovely pyjamas and socks.  I wanted to actually write and post this, so…

 

Lastly is a shot from a recent walk with Mini on my back:

IMG_0744.jpg

I have been working on a full, cloak-like coat for myself and Mini too, but it is going slowly being hand stitched with embellishments A.C. style.  It was nice to take a break to accomplish an entire project meanwhile.  Here is a sneak peak at Mini’s coat to also illustrate the hood type that I first meant to use for the cloak:

IMG_6543.jpg

 

The bumblebee is complete: an Alabama Chanin inspired toddler Halloween costume…

Version 2

Last time I wrote here I was about to begin making a bumblebee Halloween costume for Mini.  I didn’t get a change to write again while working on it until a day or two ago and opted to just finish everything first instead so that I could try for a photoshoot before the weekend.

IMG_1237

 

It went as planned except for the wings.  Instead of using wire and pantyhose I ended up sandwiching super sparkly vinyl sheets together, and I am pleased with the result.  If making them again I’d probably change the design slightly, but I definitely prefer them to the wire frame sort for this particular costume.  The sparkle is great for bee wings, I think.  Anyway, the vinyl stuff had adhesive, and I stuck it to some Tyvek for extra strength.  I’d have used black craft foam sheets if I’d planned better, but I hadn’t purchased any.  For my own costume I ought to, because larger wings will droop too much otherwise.

The bodysuit and bolero were easy thanks to plenty of practice.  I’m glad I found out about Alabama Chanin in time to use the techniques for baby clothes!  I think that it makes the costume much more special.

 

Inspiration:

 

Details:

Getting ready for Halloween: little bumblebee

For the first Halloween ever, I’m planning to have a costume done more than a day/hour before the deadline!  😀  Since everything takes longer now I actually began preparing already (and also so that I can post about the costume before the holiday.)  So, I went out searching for the materials that I thought I’d need and had them in hand before the first of October!

The idea is to make a cute little bumblebee costume for Mini (and some rather half-assed matching bee attire for myself.)  For this I figured I’d use: yellow and black tulle, yellow and black T-shirts, black or white tights, wire, headbands, pompoms, ribbon, black shoes, glittery fabric paint, and maybe some fake flowers.  It wasn’t hard to find these things, even the tulle was available in more shades than I knew what to do with, on my first outing to local suppliers.  I’m glad I didn’t have to go online or to the city.

Here are the materials:

IMG_0258

I saw the reflective sticky vinyl sheet stuff and decided it would help make really cool wings.

I planned on using pretty brass and copper twisted wire to attach black pompoms to headbands, but another day I spotted the pre-made ones with sequins.  I liked them very much, so now I don’t have to make any.  The tulle is to make tutus.  I envisioned having to carefully cut, pin, and make gathering stitches in multiple layers, but after a little research it seems everyone just cuts and then ties strips onto elastic or ribbon.   The wings will be made of either the black or white pantyhose.  Probably the white?  I’m not certain about the fake flowers and hops, but I’d like to have them on hand to possibly add.  The idea is to stay aways from a cartoonish kind of bee and go more in a fantasy woodland-sprite direction.  That is the reason I ended up purchasing “gold” tulle and vinyl rather than a bold yellow and all the flowers.

I think it’ll be a fun project, but I cannot begin until next week.  Or shouldn’t…  My mother is coming to visit tomorrow and let me tackle big household projects, and I spent the last few days on those and sourcing materials.  I’d hoped to complete insulting, finishing, and furnishing my husband’s office over the weekend, but materials wouldn’t arrive in time.  Instead I have masonry repairs and a lot of organising.  Just as well, because the front steps are a disaster and the garage a complete mess of things to donate or sell or put away properly.

Next week I’ll cut the t-shirts into a striped onesie and bolero.  Hopefully I’ll finish stitching it quickly and can make tutus as well.  The wings are the portion that I’m least certain of how to do or how long it’ll take.  Then the rest is just finishing touches.  I’ll write again soon!

Progress and plans

I just completed the last few centimetres of binding on the poppies bodysuit, and the appliqué stitching is all done too.  Today I’ll be able to construct the bolero, and I’m still on target to complete the outfit for the last predicted nice weather which we’ll be having this weekend.  The plan is to go to a pumpkin patch for photos.

IMG_1788

Meanwhile, I’ve been considering Halloween costume ideas.  I had nothing, but yesterday I was looking at the bees on a blanket that I made for Mini recently, and the idea of a little bumblebee suddenly seemed nice.  I think it’ll be a great costume for a toddler.  I’m starting to plan it in my head and figure it may involve black and yellow tulle, some kind of black pleather for a stinger, wire and pantyhose wings, yellow and black T-shirts A. Chanin-ed into a bodysuit, pom-poms on a headband, and black tights?  Maybe a few fake flowers?  We’ll see.

This is the blanket.  It’s just one of those no-sew fleece things.  I saw the fabric and gave in to the cuteness.  :shrug:

IMG_0248

I carefully cut the two layers and then fringe strips to tie.  It was really quick, and Mini likes it a lot.

IMG_0189.JPG

IMG_0247

That same day I also impulsively grabbed a yard of cheap (97-cent/yard) vinyl that looked cute to make a little rain coat.  I’d been meaning to make a mini-cloak-coat, like mine, for her.  I tackled that and made the pattern right away.  The raincoat is all cut out, but I didn’t sew it up yet.  After all, I doubt she’ll actually use it until spring.  I’d like to make a wool version too, but I haven’t found a large enough thrift coat to cut up yet.  I’m hoping for red, but maybe I’ll find some pretty shade of some other colour.

Time now to sew a little!

 

Autumn Alabama Chanin style bolero & bodysuit set for baby…

I have such a backlog of post topics!  There are folders of photos ready for the text and plenty of text waiting for photos.  Heh.  I’m working on it.  For example, I plan a bunch of cycling review/information posts, and we had a great test yesterday by biking from northern Westchester all the way to Manhattan!  Today I’ll write about the project that has been occupying me for the last two months or longer.  Now I’m nearing the end, finally, and part of the delay has been that I worked on completing basic bodysuits also so that Mini had more to wear.  (Not to mention that I didn’t want her to outgrow what I’d cut out before I even sewed it all!)

Orange is not usually I colour I like at all, but I have been drawn to it lately and find it compliments Mini’s colouring.  I decided to get several T-shirts in oranges and yellows to use for her wardrobe.  While I did that and cut them up in the summer fall has now arrived, and the ensemble I’m working on seems perfect for the season.  I made a stencil (quite quickly and roughly) of poppy seed pods, but our maple tree now shows me that a Japanese maple leaf motif would have been wonderful.  One day I’ll take time to create stencils which seamlessly match together and work well for stitching, but in this case I could get away with a poorly thought out one for tiny pieces.  I’d first thought about using stencils I already had, but I couldn’t put off the poppies for such lovely colours.

IMG_9592

IMG_0236.jpg

 

Now I have only a little stitching left on the final piece (sleeve) before I can construct the bolero.  The matching plain lighter orange bodysuit is nearly complete with just a little binding left to sew.  I’m hoping to use the set for photos this weekend.

Here are some shots to show the other onesies:

 

Goth Garden 2018

The gardens have been rather neglected this year.  I think the last time I weeded was in May, and very little effort has been into planting, but I still have photos to share.  I finally gave in to the temptation of gorgeous blue flowers this year, and it is easier to find things to add if I allow blues, lighter purples, and pink.

I think it looks better and more filled out finally.  Each year I’m discovering how to plan better.  In a few years, when I’ll have time to tend to it, the garden should finally look nice all season.  Meanwhile the front is awful and all weeds this year, and I look forward to having it not looking shameful someday.  😀

I just noticed that I’m missing some earlier shots, like of the fantastic Jack in the Pulpit, from spring.  Shoot…  Okay, I dug some up:

In Queue

Just a quick update…

I took some time lately to simply cut out a bunch of patterns to have queued and ready for sewing.  This means I haven’t yet finished the lavender basic onesie, but once in a while I rather have a line-up to keep me focused instead of hit by too many next project ideas at once (especially the kind I cannot work on now.)

There are four wrap dresses: in Buddhist monk orange, dandelion yellow, wine red, and pale tan.  This takes a lot of “yardage,” so I needed to shorten or narrow them depending on the t-shirt.  They are the most versatile in size but cannot yet be worn, so I’ll work on them last.  One is the older a-line dress with sleeves and was cut out months ago.  That is meant to be a very embellished two-layer dress sized for later on, and it is of dark and lighter blue.  There are two basic spaghetti strap onesies: pumpkin orange and grey-heathered wine red in a current size.  I was able to fit an enlarged bolero in pumpkin too.  I’d hoped to use it over the pale tan, but there wasn’t enough.  I may find another suitable layer though.  (I sadly messed up when placing and cutting a pixie hat from the remaining pale tan.  Waaah!)  Lastly are two dress-onesies: deep red and a sky blue.

I have a lot to sew now!  It is funny to me that I have yellow and orange, because I have always disliked them strongly.  Maybe not always, because I do appreciate them on certain other people, but I avoid them myself.  Anyway, it’ll be fun to make these for Mini and see her being cute in them.

IMG_0210

I have also selected photos for queued up blog posts that I’ll get to eventually.  😉  They vary in nature from gardening, sewing, nursery items, cooking, or home improvement.  I’m working on it!

The lavender onesie:

IMG_0276