Posts by Nicole :

Valentine’s Day 2019

valentine-cards, the artyologist

Happy belated Valentine’s Day everyone!

If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, it will be no surprise to you that I love Valentine’s Day. Every year, on Valentines I send cards, bake a heart shaped cake, wear pink, and spend time with my family eating the aforementioned cake. This year was no different! I was originally planning on posting yesterday, sharing the cards that I made this year, but then I decided to include a picture of the card my sister got me, because it was too cute to not share!

valentine-cards-2

These are the cards I made this year.

And this is the card my sister got me! So adorable- it’s definitely getting framed and hung on my wall! The artist is Jane Carkill of Lamb Little Illustration– she has the sweetest illustrations!

Can’t have a proper Valentine’s Day without chocolate and hearts!

And lastly- I bought myself some flowers on Wednesday, because it’s February and winter seems like it has no end, it was Valentine’s Day, and why not? They do cheer up the place and I smile every time I look at them.

Did you do anything special for Valentine’s Day?

How to Sew Your Own Mittens out of a Felted Sweater

Goodness, it’s been cold lately! It was -38 yesterday and this morning! I’m not used to it (am I ever used to the cold?) because we’ve had such a mild winter (so mild that I was wearing my raincoat in January, because my cashmere coat was too hot!)

But, this past week we got a huge amount of snow and chilly temperatures along with it- so it’s winter again in Alberta! All that to say- it seems like the perfect time to share a tutorial for felted woolen mittens! 

I made these mittens a few weeks ago for my best friend’s birthday gift (and I couldn’t post this tutorial until she opened them today!) I wanted to give her a pair of mittens, since hers have sadly reached the end of their life, but the only problem is that I don’t knit! I also didn’t think of giving her mittens a few months ago and looking at all the Christmas craft fairs, where I was sure to have found plenty. I didn’t want to give her “store-bought” ones, and I also didn’t have time to order any from Etsy or someplace like that.

So, what to do? Felt them! 

As I was figuring out how to make them, through much trial and error, I had the forethought to take a few quick pictures to share with you, so today is a tutorial on making your own mittens out of felted wool!

This is the first project I have ever made out of felted wool (I think. . . ) so it was a completely new experience. When I had the idea to make some mittens, I started looking for a pattern, but couldn’t find one that seemed to work. Many of the patterns I saw had the bottom of the palm and the thumb as one piece with a seam across the palm. I made up a test version with this style, and I didn’t like how it fit. There was a lot of excess fabric on the palm and the thumb was not off to the side enough to fit well.

So, as I was scrolling through pictures of felted mittens, I found a pair for sale that had a separate piece on the side for the thumb. I decided to attempt making this style, so I took a scrap piece of fabric, sewed a test mitten, created a pattern from it- and here is the result! 

You will need:

  • A piece of 100% wool, such as an old felted sweater. Check out the thrift shop for wool- just make sure it is 100%  wool content, so it will felt for you.
  • Lining fabric- make sure it is stretchy. I used a scrap of t-shirt fabric. For extra “eco cred”, you could even recycle an old t-shirt! 
  • Needle and Thread

Optional: 

  • Woolen thread of the same colour, for handstitching
  • Elasticized thread for sewing in lining, if you are lining them

STEP ONE:

Felt your wool if it isn’t already felted. You can put it in your washing machine on hot, with a bit of detergent and then wash as normal. If you put in a few sweaters, they will felt faster, because of the agitation. Check your wool once washed, and see if it is felted enough- if not you can repeat the process until it is. Then let it dry.

STEP TWO:

I don’t have an actual pattern to share with you, because as I was sewing, I changed things along the way, and had to cut out excess fabric etc. but this is the original shape that I started out with. Measure and trace your own hand to create a pattern that will fit you. I made the underside/palm of my mitten slightly smaller, so the seam wouldn’t show as much, but once I made them, the wool was so forgiving I don’t know if it made any difference. If you include a 1/2” seam allowance and start out with pieces shaped somewhat like this, you will have room to tweak as you go along! 

ps- this is the size I made it for my hand. The measurements might be different for you.

STEP THREE:

Lay the wool out flat, and decide where you want your mittens to be. Look to see if you can use some of the existing elements, such as cuffs or collars in the design of the mittens. If you have a patterned sweater, like mine, choose where you want the pattern to run. I ended up placing my pattern pieces along the hem, so I could incorporate the finished edge as a cuff. I also made sure to line up the edges of the pattern along the bottom, so the pattern would be consistent from front to back and across the thumb.

STEP FOUR:

Cut out your pieces!

STEP FIVE:

Pin along the top curve of the mitten and sew, either by hand or by machine.

Once you get over to the side, you’ll have to feather out your stitching, like a dart. If, when you turn the mitten right side out, the curve isn’t smooth, use a thread to hand stitch the pieces and soften out the curve and pull the pieces together nicely.

STEP SIX:

Sew the curve of the thumb piece. 

Try on the mitten, to see how it’s progressing for fit. If you need to make any adjustments to size, do so now. It’s easier to make changes before it’s completely sewn together.

STEP SEVEN:

Turn inside out and pin thumb to the hand piece. Line up the bottom edges and then sew together. You probably won’t be able to sew all the way around with the machine, because the pieces are so small. Finish attaching the thumb piece on with a hand stitch. I found it was easiest to put the mitten on my hand, right side out and then hand stitch the pieces together.

STEP EIGHT:

Turn the mitten inside out! 

If you are not creating a lining, then you are done! Simply tack the seam allowances down at the edge of the mitten, and steam into shape if there are any bulges etc. 

STEP NINE:

If you are creating a lining, repeat the steps with the lining fabric, but don’t worry about shaping (as long as it’s not too big), as it’s going to be hidden inside the mitten. 

STEP TEN:

Once you have finished the lining, leave it inside out, and fit inside the woolen mitten. Turn under the edge and then stitch to the outer mitten with some elastic thread. 

And there you have it!

The nice thing about making mittens out of felted wool is that the fabric is very moldable, so it will soon conform to your hand.

This was a relatively quick project. I finished them in several hours- and that includes the trial and error of fitting them. Now that I have sewn with felted wool, I am thinking up other projects I can make. . . earbands, slippers, baby boots. . . what else?

Have you ever made anything with felted wool before? Do you think you’ll try making some mittens of your own? What other projects would be good to make out of felted recycled wool?

Vintage Beauty Advertisements: A Fashion Moment with Canadian Home Journal 1941

Vintage 1941 Cutex ad

I think it is about time we took another look into this April 1941 edition on the Canadian Home Journal, don’t you think? The last time we took a look inside was back in March, with a spread about Easter fashions. This time I am sharing a collection of the beauty advertisements!

There are quite a lot of ads for face creams and “cocktails”, several advertisements featuring movie stars, and of course all of the ads showing the ideal 1940’s look! Interestingly, unlike other beauty ads I’ve seen, none of these mention the war, even though they were right in the midst of it in 1941. There are quite a few pictures today, (a lot of which are Woodbury ads!) but as I was flipping through it again, I realized that I missed a few, so I think that those will make another post sometime in the future!

Vintage 1941 Campana ad
Vintage 1941 Elizabeth Arden ad
Vintage 1941 Evan Willams Shampoo ad
Vintage 1941 Ingram's Milkweed Cream advertisement
Vintage 1941 Lady Esther advertisement
Vintage 1941 Loretta Young Lux soap advertisement
Vintage 1941 Palmolive ad
Vintage 1941 Woodbury powder ad
Vintage 1941 Woodbury Loretta Young ad
Vintage 1941 Woodbury facial cocktail advertisement

I love this last ad- I wish that my powder came in containers this pretty! Modern makeup just doesn’t come anywhere near as close in elegance!

Vintage 1941 Yardley makeup ad

Vintage Skating Party

vintage-skating-party-3

If I were going to a vintage skating party, this is what I would wear! Actually, even if it wasn’t a “vintage” skating party, this is still what I would want to wear, because it just seems like a vintage skating outfit, doesn’t it? Not that I have been doing much skating lately. . .  I haven’t gone once this year!

I have been making good on my plan to sew more this year, however, so there’s that. This past weekend I actually sat down and unpicked two of the wool skirts I got recently at the thrift store, altered one of the skirts, and finished several other mending and alteration projects that have been sitting in a pile for much too long! 

This knitted top, which is actually a 70’s inspired mini dress, was one of the garments I altered on Saturday. I got it several years ago from the thrift store, for an ambitious plan to do photoshoots of every era since 1900. Well, the photoshoots never happened, but I still really liked this dress- just not as a dress! The mini dress might have been a thing in the 70’s, but it’s really not my thing.

I was going through clothes a while ago, and came across it wondering whether I should just pass it on, as I was never going to wear it, but since I absolutely love the sleeves, I couldn’t bear to get rid of it. Then, I thought that I could try wearing it as a sweater, tucked into a skirt. It works quite well as a sweater, but it originally had a keyhole opening in the back. (Only the top two buttons were there.) 

vintage-skating-party-1

However, when you are wearing a sweater, it probably means that it’s chilly, and having an open back was COLD! I added some more buttons and loops and now this is a much warmer and more practical pullover! Well, as practical as it can be with sleeves like this! 

I know the dress is supposed to be a more 1970’s Missoni style, but the sleeves really remind me of the 1930’s. What do you think?

vintage-skating-party-sleeve

I paired it with my black wool circle skirt, so the look isn’t truly 1930’s, but it seemed kind of like a skating outfit, so I decided to roll with it, and add a beret (my hair is actually long enough to wear berets again!), this lovely oversized pearl headed hat pin a lady in my church gave me, and a gold belt. These sparkly earrings my mom and dad got me for Christmas gave a bit more bling, and then these boots, with a fur detail, kind of completed the “winter skating” look.

I’m so glad I decided to dedicate some time on Saturday to mending and altering, as I was able to add several “new” items back into my wardrobe! It’s my own version of “shop your closet”! 

Do you get excited to add items you’ve mended or altered back into your closet?

vintage-skating-party-5

I would not be on one foot if I was actually on skates. . .