handmade

Me Made May 2016; Now That It’s Over. . .

me made may roundup the artyologist

So, the month of May is over and with that comes the end of the Me Made May challenge! It was a neat experience participating in this online event for the first time, and it was fun to see how many people were taking part over on Instagram. (The majority of the photos are gathered under #mmmay16, if you want to go and see)

Now that the month is over (and I am a week late in writing this) (and really where did May go so fast!!??) it is time to think about what I learned from the challenge. I wrote about my reason for joining in in this post here, and over at Zoe’s blog you can read about the whole thing. The main idea is to evaluate your wardrobe, and show the garments you’ve made a bit of love and appreciation. My challenge to wear each of my homemade garments was a good challenge for me, because I have some homemade garments I literally never reach for, so it was good to wear them and evaluate, “Why don’t I wear this? Why is this not the first thing I reach for when getting dressed?”. Here are my thoughts, and lessons learned, as well as what I need to focus on now in my sewing projects. . .

me made may roundup 2 the artyologist

  • I grabbed a dress first almost every day. For me, dresses are my go to: they are so easy. I don’t have to worry about coordinating my separates, or the fact that my blouse is coming untucked, or try too hard to get an ensemble that looks “put together”. I just throw on a dress, grab some shoes, maybe a hat and a purse and I’m done! I wore my handmade dresses, such as the seersucker dress, and black rayon dirndl dress, over and over throughout the month (I just didn’t take a picture each time haha!) So, I definitely need to add more dresses into the list of projects. And as far as what kind: full skirted dresses are my first love!
  • I work from home, so I don’t get dressed to the nines each morning, with fancy dresses, petticoats, hats, gloves, and high heels. When I am at my desk, comfort is key. BUT, I still want to look classy and put together! I found that my pleated skirts are two of the other garments I reached for over and over again. I often paired them with a solid t-shirt, or peasant blouse. Are t-shirts vintage? Nope, not really, but on a casual stay-at-home day, or a really hot day where I think I might just melt into a puddle, t-shirts are great. If I pair them with a vintage style skirt though, rather than jeans for example, I still get the “look”, but I stay comfortable. Those two skirts I made were sooooo easy to make. I really need to whip up a couple more.
  • I have a wardrobe that is full of patterns. I love patterns, but unfortunately, most of the patterns are different florals that don’t coordinate with each other. I need to focus on bringing some more solids into my wardrobe, so the patterns can shine and not compete with each other. On that note, the two hats I made, only coordinate with a select few garments I have in my closet. So, either I need to focus on making hats that will go well with lots of my garments, or make more garments that will coordinate with my hats. I hate it when you don’t have a hat that “goes” with an outfit, and yet you know that the outfit would look so much better if it did have a coordinating hat!

me made may roundup 3 the artyologist

And lastly, what did I not reach for?

  • Like I said, fancy party dresses are not something I wear on a consistent basis. (Maybe I just need to go to more parties. . . .) I definitely wear them on occasion, and I do like to dress up a bit fancier for church, but even then, I would be more likely to wear a rayon or brushed cotton, than a taffeta or silk. I never once wore my beautiful floral “garden party” dress during the month of May, but I do have an event coming up in June that I am planning on wearing it to. I still definitely want to keep these few fancier options in my closet, for those few times a year when I need a cocktail dress, however, perhaps my sewing hours would be better suited to sewing some more “everyday” garments, before I start focusing on the fancy dresses.
  • I never once reached for my pants. I only wore them on the last day, so that I could say that I had done it! 😉 I just find dresses and skirts so much more comfortable. (which is funny considering that most people consider pants to be more comfortable. . . ) Obviously I need pants for occasions like: digging up the garden, walking through tall grass and weeds where you don’t want your legs to get all scratched up to shreds, or going tobogganing (for example), but for daily use, I just don’t wear them. However, when I did wear them, I liked them well enough, so maybe I just need to take note to remember to wear them more often. I recently purchased Wearing History’s Smooth Sailing Trousers, as I have heard good things about that pattern, so perhaps I should sew those up sooner rather than later.

Overall it was great to participate in the challenge, and I certainly did pay more attention to what I have, what I wore, and what I should make to fill in those “holes”, so I would consider the challenge a success! Have you ever taken part in the Me Made May challenge? Or have you ever stopped to do a thorough evaluation of your wardrobe?

me made may roundup 4 the artyologist

The Unconventional Way to Make a Hat

how to make a hat the artyologist

Millinery is the ancient and detailed profession of designing, making and trimming hats. Despite the fact that hats have largely fallen out of fashion, millinery is still alive and well. It is an art form that requires a high level of skill, and the knowledge and use of materials and techniques such as steaming felt, straw and buckram. There are tutorials and classes out there that teach the proper methods to forming hats.

how to make a hat the artyologist

This is not that kind of tutorial.

This is the quick and easy, but perhaps not “proper” way to make a hat. Someday I would like to be able to improve my proficiency in hatmaking, but in the meantime, using the resources available to me, and the limited knowledge I do have, I was still able to come up with a way to achieve the effect I was looking for. So if you’d like to know how I made the coral hat I wore in this post, keep reading!

little hat before the artyologist

(Little hat, you are so cute, but such a failure)

I made this little flowered hat a few years ago. However, it was a first attempt and it wasn’t very good.  When I took a good look at it, I decided that (like the coral hat) it was just too small and never worked with my hair styles. Me Made May was a perfect time to try and fix it so I could wear it! My first thought was to add flowers to the sides, like I did to the coral hat, however that didn’t work out as there was the netting to deal with, and I couldn’t just widen it like I did with the coral one. However I liked the idea of an explosion of flowers atop my head, so the only way was to take it apart and start over.

how to make a hat starch and fabric the artyologist

(The brand is Api’s Crafters Pick Fabric Stiffener)

The base of this hat was made with an old curtain. The weave of this lace reminded me of the hats from the 50’s. For the coral hat I used an old piece of goat hair interfacing I had. You could use any piece of stiff material, as it will be starched into shape. First, cut the fabric into the size needed (and make sure not to cut it too small like I did!) if you have a hat similar to this already, you could just measure it and cut the fabric to the same size.

Now, saturate the fabric with fabric starch. I used this brand that I picked up at Michael’s craft store. It kind of looks like white glue, but it dries stiff and clear. The easiest method I found was to put the lace into a small bowl and just pour some of the starch over it and work it in with my hands. It’s messy, but don’t worry: it washes off easily! You could also use a brush if you wanted.

Once the fabric is completely saturated, you are ready to form it. You can use a hat form if you happen to have one lying around, but as I mentioned this is the unconventional way to make a hat, and I do not have a hat form. But, never fear, lot’s of things can be used instead! I have heard that bowls make great forms, and I would like to try that for the next hat I make, however for this hat, as I wanted a “cap” style, I used a foam head.

using a foam head as a hat form the artyologist

(Dear foam head: you are creepy, but you work!)

Wrap your form in a layer of plastic wrap, if it is porous, so the starch won’t wreck it. Then place the lace over the form and wrap it in another layer of plastic wrap to secure it in shape. Let it dry overnight, and then carefully remove the outer layer of plastic. The cloth will probably still be wet as the plastic doesn’t let in enough air to dry completely, but it will most likely be dry enough to hold shape. Once you have removed the plastic outer layer, let the fabric dry completely, until it is hard and in shape. You are now ready to make a hat!

wire gridwork how to make a hat the artyologist

(The wire grid on the inside of the coral hat; the wire won’t show so I didn’t cover it)

Measure the circumference of the edge of the fabric and cut a length of wire, adding an inch to overlap and secure together. For this lace hat, I only wired the edge, but for the coral hat, where the wires would be covered, I made a framework of wires. A great place to get wire is in the hardware section rather than in the craft section, as the supplies are usually cheaper there. I use a roll of wire I got from the dollar store (I don’t remember what gauge it is). Note that this is not memory wire, as it doesn’t spring back into shape, but can be bent out of and into shape. I used two pieces for added strength, and taped them together by wrapping them with washi paper tape. You could also use masking tape or florists tape- I’ve used them before- I just used washi as that is what I had handy.

building the wire edge how to make a hat the artyologist

(Taping the wire together first, and then wrapping with ribbon)

Now you are left with a nice solid ring, or gridwork, but an ugly one, so it is time to cover it if you are making a mesh hat where the wire might show. If the hat is solid fabric, you don’t need to cover the wire, as it won’t show. Covering the wire can be done in two ways: either sew a narrow channel and slide the wire into it, or wrap it with a ribbon. To wrap with ribbon, secure the end with some hot glue and then wrap, adding a dot of glue every once in a while to keep it nice and tight.

Now bend the wire into the shape that you need it to be. I simply placed it on my head and pressed it into shape.

Now it is time to secure the wire to the base! Using a needle and thread, sew the base onto the wire around the circumference. Make sure to keep it even the entire way around. Then trim off any excess material. If some of the starch has dried across the lace (see picture below) then just poke through it with a pin to remove it.

how to make a hat the artyologist

Now you are left with the perfect base to embellish!

Play around with options before you commit, by pinning flowers, bows, ribbons (anything is game!) onto the hat before sewing them. I pinned the flowers I took off the old hat onto the new base. I also decided to try a veil to see how that would look. I pinned it all together as a mock up and tried it on!

decorating the hat the artyologist

Unfortunately, it looked like the entire 1980’s had exploded into a hat. This was not quite the look I was going for. 🙁 So, perhaps this tutorial should actually be entitled, “How to Start Fixing One Hat and End Up With A Completely Different One”!

I decided that I did like the pink peony though, so I started thinking about how I could incorporate that into my design. Then I had an idea: edge the hat in ribbon leaves!

Here’s how to make ribbon leaves. They are very easy and quick to make. (I made them all in the time it took me to watch a movie. Actually, I trimmed the entire hat in that time, so you can see it is actually very quick to whip up a hat). Cut a length of ribbon long enough to fold both sides in at a 45 degree angle. Press into shape. Sew a running stitch along the bottom of the triangle and then gather. Trim off any excess, but make sure not to cut the gathering stitch.

ribbon leaves

I also decided to make a new centre for the peony so that it would coordinate with the ribbon leaves. Once you have figured out your design, sew the pieces onto the base. You can also use hot glue (but make sure to test first to make sure that the glue won’t soak through and show to the proper side, or you’ll end up with a spotty look). As you are sewing, make sure to catch only the under layers, or make very tiny stitches, so they won’t show to the front.

make a hat sewing on the leaves the artyologist

When I made the coral hat, I covered the goat hair lining with a piece of satin, but stitching it around the edge of the base (in case any showed through) and then I just sewed a thousand peach coloured silk flowers to the top of it. This took a while, but I used long stitches, making sure to only catch tiny bits of the flower, (like the ribbon leaves above) so you wouldn’t see the stitches.

coral hat how to make a hat the artyologist

(I also added a little pouf of veiling, just for some fluffiness)

I decided to add a veil to the lace hat, so I gathered a piece of Russian netting to create a short veil. I got the netting at Fabricland, but if you don’t have access to this kind of netting, and you want to add a veil, you can use any kind of netting or tulle.  I made the veil narrow, as I didn’t want it to come over my face, but rather just over my forehead. If you need to cut the netting to size, make sure to cut through the middle of the squares. This way you will have a nice edge and the netting won’t fray. (If you are using regular tulle, also try to cut along the edges of the pieces where the threads join, otherwise you end up with thread “legs” sticking out, rather than a neat edge) If you gather the veil in a semi circle shape, it will pull into a rounded shape and the edges will meet up with the sides of the hat. To gather, put your needle through the little squares in the Russian netting and gently gather into shape. Trim off any excess netting, but make sure not to cut your gathering stitch. Then, stitch the veil onto the hat, but make sure not to stitch through the good side of your hat.

russian netting how to make a hat the artyologist

(cut through the squares, and gather by stitching into the squares)

how to gather russian netting how to make a hat the artyologist

(I used only 1/2 the width, but you could use the entire width for a veil that would cover your face)

Now you have a hat, but how will you secure it to your head? I used a length of elastic, as I have found this works best with my short hair, but you could also use a comb, attach the hat to a headband or add loops and secure with hatpins or bobby pins. I use a black elastic, as it blends better with my hair than white would.

make a hat attaching the elastic the artyologist

(the messy inside of the hat- but it works!)

Now you have another hat to add to your collection!

Oh and a couple of notes:

-The fabric stiffener is water soluble, so do not wear your hat in the rain!

-I have not been able to come up with a good way to line the hat, as of yet, so for now the coral hat is not nice and neat on the inside. I’m OK with that, as when I am wearing it, nobody can see the messy inside, but if I figure out a way to line it, I will someday. Do you know of a good way to line it?

So there you go, the unconventional way to make a hat! Would you try making a hat, or have you ever made a hat before? How did it go? What kind of hats do you like the most?

Also, stay tuned for a post later this week, where the hat will make it’s debut! (Or rather, I guess since I have already shown you the hat, it will not be a debut, but . . . )

how to make a hat the finished hat the artyologist

Making Your Own Makeup Organizers

image of lipstick makeup organizers the artyologist

I’m not super into makeup; for that department you’d have to talk to my sister. However, despite the fact that I never used to wear makeup, and I still don’t even wear it daily, over the past few years I have apparently managed to build up a bit of a collection, as my rather disorganized makeup cupboard was clearly showing me.

I used to have a drawer to store all my lotions and potions, so three old kleenex boxes fit neatly into the drawer and were a perfect (and free!) organizing solution. I’ve since moved though, and now have a medicine cabinet to hold my makeup. The kleenex boxes just weren’t cutting it anymore, so I decided that it was time for my non-organized cabinet to get an overhaul. I grabbed some spare glass jars to hold my brushes and mascara etc. and found a few small boxes and containers to hold the rest. However, the two items that still didn’t have a good home were my lipsticks and my new eyeshadow colours.

image of pure anada makeup the artyologist

About a month ago, I invested in some nice, Canadian made, mineral eyeshadow, by Pure Anada. I became aware of the fact that many of the ingredients in makeup are not all they seem when I read Wear No Evil a few years ago, and so I have slowly been switching my makeup over to pure, natural and organic makeups ever since. The last step in that process was the eyeshadow. The cool thing about Pure Anada is that their pressed eyeshadow powders are in metal containers, and their palettes are magnetized, so it makes it very easy to create a custom palette and to replace them when you run out of a colour. However, the case was designed to hold 8 colours and I only had 5, so this left the palette almost half empty. I may be slightly obsessed with how things look (ok maybe a lot obsessed), so a half empty palette just wouldn’t do. I thought, how hard could it be to make one myself? Well, with a bit of trial and error, I ended up with a pretty good case. (And I gave the original palette to my sister, who had bought more colours than me!)

image of eyeshadow palette the artyologist

The other thing I needed an organizing solution for, was my lipstick. My first thought was to get a vintage lipstick stand, however my internet search didn’t bring up any that 1.) were big enough to hold 10 tubes, and 2.) I liked the look of. (See, there is my obsession with how things look again!) The next thought was to purchase one of those acrylic lipstick organizers. I love the look of those as they remind me of the accessories of the Art Deco and Mid Century eras, however, no one in our town sells anything like that, and as I am not the most patient of people when it comes to organizing things (get it done!!) I didn’t want to wait until I next time I went to the city. I also thought that, since I had had success in making an eyeshadow case, I might as well try my hand at a lipstick organizer too. (You may be wondering, also, why a self professed non make-up wearer has 10 tubes of lipstick. Well, I had a few colours, and one day, when I was going to buy some new colours, there was a buy 2 get 1 free sale, so I bought 4 and got 2 free! Sometimes these things just happen. . . )

image of lipstick organizer the artyologist

Anyways, here is, sort of, how I made the two organizers.

Sorry I was so excited to reorganize and get started, I forgot to take a before picture. And I tried to take pictures of the process of making the makeup organizers, and then I got busy and forgot to take them along the way. Oops.

image of makeup organizers how to the artyologist

The first thing I did was lay out the eyeshadow, and measure the size needed. It just so turned out that they fit perfectly onto an old magnet I had. (You know the kinds that realtors or museums etc, hand out to you? Usually they are business card size.)

I measured the magnet and cut out pieces of stiff cardboard to create a little box. I glued and taped the pieces together.

I decided to cover the cases in some vintage clip art. As this project was just for my own personal use, I googled “vintage hats Sears catalogue” and came up with these images that I printed out onto some 8.5×11 scrapbook paper.

Once I had the decorative paper, I traced the box and lid, cutting it all out in one piece, making sure to add a bit of an allowance to wrap around the edge. Then I decoupaged the paper onto the box. One of the errors I made was to not allow enough to wrap the lid (oops!), so I had to cut separate pieces to finish the inside of the lid. That’s why it is made of a few pieces. It gives it more of a decoupage-y, collage-y feel though right? 😉

Then I glued in the magnet, and put the eyeshadow inside. The only thing I do not like about it, is that the lid doesn’t close tightly, as the paper gives it enough bounce to pop open easily. I think I am going to find another small piece of magnet to attach to the lid so it will stay closed. Right now it’s fine when it’s in my cupboard, but if I am traveling I have to put an elastic around it to keep it shut.

image of makeup organizers eyeshadow and lipstick the artyologist

As for the lipstick holder, I followed the same method of measuring the lipstick and determining how large each cubicle needed to be, and then cutting out the cardboard and making a box. Then I measured the inside of the box, and cut the divider pieces, two for the length and three across the width.

These I cut halfway up at one inch intervals across, (which I conveniently don’t have a picture of) so that the pieces would slide together to create a grid. I hope you know what I mean?

Then I covered and decoupaged the box and the grid pieces individually. Once dry, I slid the grid into the box, and added the lipstick.

Perfecto! Actually, the one thing I didn’t remember was that I should have cut my grid pieces a bit shorter, as they stick up just a smidgen above the box. This is because I cut them at the same height as the box, the decoupage added a bit of height, and the grid doesn’t fit tightly. Maybe someday when I am feeling ambitious, I will take it apart and cut them down a bit. But, in the meantime it works perfectly.

So, how do you organize your makeup? Do you like the insides of your cupboards to be as pretty as the outsides too?

image of makeup organizers lipstick holder and eyeshadow palette the artyologist