Wrap Skirt tutorial and Valentine’s Nonsense – DIY #9

So I done goofed. This year was not my first Valentine’s Day in 3 years. It was actually my first in 4 years! And what a day it was: I went to the winter wonderland up in the countryside, where the Mad Hatter and the white rabbit were waiting. We decided to stay in, dress up, and have a home cooked dinner.

The Mad Hatter’s trademark colours are red and black, and I wanted to match his outfit. Since red is a nice Valentine’s Day colour, I chose to make a red outfit. Unfortunately, I didn’t own any red dresses, and there was no way I was going to drop $40 on a new dress I’d only wear once. I did, however, find a red t-shirt that fit fairly snug, and thought it would make a cute cutout top. How about, I thought, we cut the top, and make a detatchable skirt, like the one April made.

And then I started looking through videos, and found this video about a convertible skirt. These skirts are similar to the infinity dress, which can be worn in many different ways. So I thought about making a similar one; it’s basically a wrap skirt that goes around twice, with a keyhole in the center of the band to accound for the extra wrap.

But then, a whole bunch of things went wrong…

  • I bought sheer ribbon, thinking it would work. It did not.
  • I found the perfect red fabric, but not the perfect complementary fabric.
  • Logo removal methods didn’t work on the shirt.

 

So here is the final decision on the outfit. First, we will make the skirt. Note: this is not a formal pattern. If anything, it’s an experimental blog. Now let’s dive in!

dsc_0100Materials :

Fabric of your choice

Scissors

Sewing machine

Matching thread

dsc_0102Step 1: Measure the fabric around your waist. It should be enough to wrap around twice. When in doubt, round up. Remember, it’s easier to take in a garment, than to let it out.

My measurement is about 30 inches (76 cm) around. So the minimum amount of fabric I need is 76 x 2 = 152 cm, or 1.52 m. To be on the safe side, I bought 2 meters of fabric.

dsc_0103This is where I started to fail… I bought satin. ($4/m) Satin is delicate, frays easily, and shows mistakes. You can try ripping out seams, but the holes where the needle pierced it will show through. In the future, I will use jersey, or a soft knit fabric that doesn’t fray and show holes. It’s a good thing I bought extra, because a lot of the selvage ends had to be sheared to remove stray fibers.

Step 2: Make the band.

Decide how wide you want your band. I want mine to be about 2.5 inches (5 cm) plus half an inch for seam allowance. So the width of the fabric I cut was (2.5 + 0.5) x 2 = (3) x 2 = 6 inches. Hooray for BEDMAS!

As for the length, I just used the length of the remaining fabric. Each cutout strap was 6″ (15.24 cm) x 2 m. You can adjust the length of the straps later.

straps

*Looking back on this project, step 4 was unnecessary. I think I meant to sandwich the top of the skirt between the two pieces, and cut it open so I could roll the hems? I don’t remember.

Step 3: Attach the skirt to the band.

Yeah. I got lazy and just sewed it on flat, as thought it were a ribbon. To ensure the skirt fit me properly, and to give it a bit more body, I made rough pleats with my fingers to gather any excess fabric. Below, I’ve pinned a ribbon, to give you an idea of where the strap was sewn. (I forgot to take a picture of this step. >_< )

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Step 4: make a keyhole in the center of the belt. Glue the edges of the keyhole so it doesn’t fray.

To determine where the keyhole should go, I held one end of the skirt, wrapped it around my waist once, and marked the position where the belt crossed.

Instead of hemming the skirt, I treated the raw edges with FrayCheck, to keep them from unraveling. This helps maintain the flowiness of the fabric, and saves on thread.

Finished! Sigh… Perhaps in the future I’ll revamp this skirt, into an easier-to-follow pattern. More like Fail-entine’s Day, amirite? ^_^….’_’… T_T

Here is the final product, side by side with my Mad Hatter’s dashing suit. He said it looked good, but I know I can make something better. I paired this outfit with the heart earrings from last week’s blog, and black stockings.

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Date not included. Perhaps one day, I’ll make another skirt like this.

 

Hm… I should’ve made this much shorter. I think I’ll refashion it into a wrap dress.

dsc_0131For the top, I took a fitted red T-shirt I no longer cared about, and cut a square neckline. Unfortunately, I couldn’t remove the logo on the front, so I ended up cutting a low back. Yikes! This low back, plus the square neckline, meant the top couldn’t stay up on its own. So instead, I opted for a technique I used in a Pikachu costume way back when, and wove a ribbon in the back. This created a cute lace-up back. I hope I’ll get more chances to wear this style in the future.

I tried to curl my pigtails, but they failed miserably. Do you ever get that? Like, you’ll be putting on eyeliner and one eye will be Beyonce, and the other side will be Jay-Z? Or one side of you is original, and the other side rips off jokes from iiSuperwomanii?

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Strawberry Rose

After getting dressed, the Mad Hatter took me by the hand, and opened the door. We sat beside each other and ate spaghetti with bacon alfredo sauce. Yes, we tried the Lady and the Tramp thing. We decided it’s best left to doggies, who can make anything look cute.

We made the fondue after we finished eating, so it would be fresh. In the past, Shoonie and I have made chocolate cups by melting chocolate, painting containers with the melted chocolate, and letting them harden. The chocolate fondue stayed nice and liquid for a long time by comparison. We dipped strawberries, marshmallows, bananas, and even bacon! The bacon was sweet and salty, aka delicious. But the bananas were still my favourite.
Spaghetti: $0.99
Butter: $2.99
Whipping Cream: $3.69
Parmesan cheese: $3.00

Chocolate Chips: $3.69
Strawberries: $2.00
Bananas: $0.59/lb x 2 = $1.18
Bacon: $5.00
Marshmallows: $3.69

Fabric: $4/m x 2 = $8.00
Ribbon: $1.25

Megabus tickets: $70

Time spent with the Mad Hatter: Priceless

The moral of the story is, you don’t need lots of money to have fun. All you need is good friends, good food, and good times. Here is my belated present to you, dear readers: an entry from this month’s 30 Day Challenge.

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How was your week? Did you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Friends’ Day? Cousins’ Day? Write midterms? How do you like to celebrate? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

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Pixel Art: Heart Earrings – DIY #8

Why wear your heart on your sleeve, when you can wear it on your ears?

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These earrings ended up looking like raspberries. So I’m calling them “raspberry hearts,” like in that one song from DDR. As you can see, they look better from a distance.

I’ve been staying in the Winter Wonderland this weekend, to spend Valentine’s day with Top Hat. We are going to stay in, dress up nice, and eat a candlelit, homecooked dinner. I’m going to wear a red dress, but couldn’t find matching accessories or jewellery. And so two nights ago, I made these with materials provided by Mother Top Hat, and earring hooks that were hiding in my bag from the Muffet earrings. Here is what I used:

dsc_0146Beading needles

Fine beading cord

Earring hooks

Pliers

This pixel heart, as a guide. 

*The scissors became useless, after I learned that the pliers had built-in wire cutters.

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I started out with a length of wire that was the length of my forearm, and 5 beads to start the center chain. There must be a proper name for it, but I call it “weaving.” Basically, you string the 5 beads as normal, then use one end of the string to weave back and forth between them, creating a sturdy chain.

I personally prefer to use polyester sewing thread, because it doesn’t curl back on itself as much, and it lays completely flat and doesn’t kink. Beggars can’t be choosers, of course, not to mention this cord is sturdier and doesn’t show between beads as much.

When working pixel bead art, start from the middle, and work one side at a time. This will keep you from getting confused, and causing the work to twist. It also helps if you sort out your beads ahead of time. This way you can determine which ones are too tight for your needle. If they can’t handle the eye of a needle, they won’t be able to handle the bundles of cord created by weaving. I got the Mad Hatter to do this step for me… after he woke up from his couch cat nap.

dsc_0153Another thing I suggest is to work beside someone motivational. Sometimes the best way to work isn’t to work with them, but to work alongside them. What I mean is, do your own thing, but do it in proximity to one another. I kept struggling and breaking beads while sitting alone. It wasn’t until the Mad Hatter finally came to sit with me, that I made progress. This is also a good way to spend time together, while still doing nothing at all… if that makes any sense.

Whether you have a date for Valentine’s Day or not, this is a cute project to make. You can wear them, give them to your girlfriend, or give them to your best friend tomorrow, for Friends’ Day.

To attach the hooks, I wove the remaining ends until they both stuck out of the top center. Then I just tied them to the hook, and snipped any excess cord.

Tonight, The Mad Hatter and I are going to have a nice date. I’m going to wear these earrings with a red outfit. Stay tuned this weekend, to hear about our date, and a DIY for the outfit! Meanwhile, enjoy today’s entry for the 30 day art challenge. Click the image to see the rest of this month’s submissions!

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Food is a universal language. Whether you have a Valentine, are just celebrating with friends, or you have exams to worry about, take time today to share a meal with someone. Meals taste better when shared.

From all of us at Pika’s Penguin Production Company, have a safe and happy Valentine’s day, and don’t forget to brush your teeth tonight!

Pika, so happy~

How to Make Amigurumi “Fluffy”

Figures: first new blog post, is posted over a month into the new year.

So I’ve finished Yuri!!! On Ice, started Fukigen na Mononokean, (The Morose Mononokean) and finished applications for Seneca, and Durham College. By the time you read this, a new 30 day art challenge will be underway. I guess that means we have time to make a blog post before that! Let’s kick off the new blog year with a how-to style blog. This week’s question: how does one make amigurumi “fluffy?”

You might recall the fluffy tail on Bunny. Today, we’re going to use the same method to make an entire ami fluffy.

dsc_0022You need:

UNASSEMBLED Amigurumi

Metal pet brush (Slicker brush)

 

dsc_0019First, create all the pieces you will need. I’m making a pink bunny. She shall be called Rosie. I made her using Red Heart: Super Saver yarn. Make all the pieces as you normally would. Don’t sew them together yet.

dsc_0021Take your slicker brush and brush all over the pieces in short strokes. I brushed about 10 times in one spot.

Hm… This didn’t working out the way I expected. Bunny’s tail looks super fluffy, like a little cotton ball. Rosie’s body, on the other hand, just looks like an ordinary ami with fuzzy hairs sticking out all over the place. She also looks a lot bigger than Bunny. Perhaps I could argue sexual dimorphism?

Here is the finished product:

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“Now all he needs is a drum and sunglasses.” – Father Raichu. #dadjokes

After doing a bit of research, it turns out that the quality of your yarn, can affect the fluffiness of the ami. I used Red Heart: Super Saver for Rosie, and Patons: Astra for Bunny. Astra is a thinner weight yarn, making it more susceptible to stray fibres. It also feels nice and soft to the touch. Super Saver is a value brand yarn, best used for sturdy projects that require a lot of body.

Tips for fluffy amis:

Check the gauge of the yarn.

The gauge on the Astra yarn recommends using a 4mm (size 6/G) crochet hook. I used my trusty H hook (5 mm) which is bigger than the recommended gauge, and therefore provided a strong, yet loose stitch. Super Saver, on the other hand, has a whopping recommended size of 6 mm (size 10/J). This meant that the stitches made with the H hook would be tighter, as if they needed to be tighter.

On that note: for the last time, knitting and crochet are not the same thing.

Just because a label recommends a 5mm knitting needle, doesn’t mean that a 5mm crochet hook will produce the same result. A single knit stitch is made up of one loop, while crochet stitches are made of two loops, with an additional loop on top to secure them together. Did you know that crochet uses up 3 times as much yarn as knitting? This is why!

I may not post tutorials on this blog, but let it be known that I’ve taught my readers something new this year. *puts on professor hat*

What else shall we post in the new year? Are there any other plushies, or themed crafts you want to see? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~