One of my Burning Man camp-mates called me up and said “My production company needs a hat replicated, and we need it in two days!” and I said “OK,” and so I made a Robin Hood hat.
But maybe a little more context first? Stan Lee did a photoshoot in which he dressed up as Errol Flynn’s Robin Hood, as a promotion for World of Heroes that would be on display in ArcLight Theaters (You can see my friend Paul on the floor behind Stan in the video).
They wanted to display some artifacts from the shoot in selected theaters, but the original hat was only a rental and could not go on tour. So it was my job to create a replica that would be on display.
I was on a serious time crunch, and the only felt I could find was nylon. I tried tinting the fabric in brown dye, which totally didn’t work. Color correction was shelved for later. As a starting point, I used this tutorial to make a sample, and tweaked the pattern from there.
In order to recreate the structure of the blocked hat, I made the hat double layered, and fused the two pieces of felt together with iron-on bonding paper. I added fabric glue to the inside of the crown as a sizing, and then gave the entire hat a wash of watered down acrylic paint to make the color more accurate.
Even though my hat was only made for display, it will probably go to Stan Lee when the campaign is over. Neato!
This project was a fun and challenging mix of sewing and craft skills. I wasn’t really sure how I would make it when I started, but I was confident every step of the way. I made the deadline, I got the check, and this project was a total success!
Jeez, this should have been posted in July! Lucky for current-me, cause I’m swamped with projects for clients that aren’t bloggy. I have a few big projects coming to completion soon, so you’ll see how busy I’ve been!
A few weeks ago I went shopping in the fabric district with some friends, and naturally we ended up at Michael Levine Loft.
Fabric was $2.50/lb, and I walked away with 11.85 lb (Sandra had a little more). Among my haul was a swishy rayon with black and green chevrons. I wasn’t sure about the colors, because it’s dark and I rarely wear green, but the fabric was perfect for some new genie pants.
I followed my own DIY genie pants tutorial, with a couple modifications. I made these pants with pockets and side seams, and there will be a follow-up tutorial for that.
The other departure is that I tapered the legs about 4″ from the inseam and side seams on both front and back. I wanted these pants to be casual lounge wear, and the super puffy legs felt so conspicuous.
I also made the tank top. It was a $1 remnant, and super smooth charcoal gray jersey (with rayon?). The seams were serged with red thread on the right side of the shirt, and then I topstitched them to lay flat. It’s strange to see myself wearing all dark colors!
They’re comfortable and casual and I love them!
Another word from current-me: after a lot of wear, this rayon fabric is starting to pill. Also the elastic waistband is wearing out a bit; I’ll replace this with a higher-quality spadex. I still have a bunch of this fabric, but now I’m reluctant to make anything that requires a lot of effort.
Last winter I found this yellow coat at a thrift store. It’s part of the Liberty of London collection for Target, and I liked the color and fabric, but wasn’t nuts about the cut. The two-piece notched collar does not work for me at all.
Here’s the original coat:
But luckily my jacket doesn’t have that awful print repeat in the product photo. There would be no saving it then.
Not exactly the most flattering shape, plus you know I can’t just wear something off the rack.
First thing I did was to cut off the collar, which necessitated binding the raw edge. I also added a faux-yoke for aesthetic reasons. I put in two new buttonholes so that the coat could be buttoned all the way to the top, replaced the black ball buttons with silver plated flat buttons, and I added an extra pleat at the back. I wore the jacket around rainy Richmond VA for my cousin’s wedding, and then forgot about it for a year.
Round 2 of renovations began with opening the lining and re-doing that CB pleat. I added the band to lower the empire waist down to my natural waist, which is so much more flattering on my body. The fabric is silk dupioni from my wedding skirt, and I love the way it plays off the yellow cotton.
I tapered the back seams to eliminate some of the cocoon shape. The sleeve caps were lowered at the same time I narrowed the shoulders, and I took in the bust of the jacket about 1″. I eliminated pleats at the front and inserted pockets into the seams.
I’m pretty impressed at the quality construction of this garment. I don’t know what the Target retail price was, but even their designer collections are inexpensive (I paid $20, which was my entire thrifty budget for the excursion). The sleeves are set in with a braided cotton tape to prevent warping, the stitching is all very even and careful, and the fabric feels like a quality cotton.
The front binding needs some ironing. It had been machine stitched on, but the bias warped and looked cheap. Instead I used a whip stitch in red thread, which is what I’d always wanted to do.
I’m not quite finished though. As much as I love the floral print, I think it’s a little overwhelming for a whole coat. I’m thinking about replacing the set-in sleeves with raglan sleeves, probably a similar color to the belt. I have some bright orange cotton twill that could be toned down by a quick dip in a black dye bath, but California is in a serious drought and I don’t feel good about how much water will be required to wash out black dye. I dunno, it’s wearable with the current sleeve, so who knows when the raglan will happen.
Also those silver buttons are just temporary; I’m on the hunt for 1″ gold buttons!
My friends Maria and Patrick of Adorn and Conquer are finally opening their own store in New Orleans! They are also carrying pieces by many artists and makers, including yours truly. The first merchandise order I shipped out was all zipper bags – 27 of them!
They are almost entirely scrap fabrics, lovingly saved for years. Every bag is lined, most have a loop for attaching a clip or wearing around the wrist.
You know I’m usually about getting as many different colors onto one piece as possible, but I totally love these all-green bags. They each have both of the above fabrics (one on each side) and even the lining and zippers are green. I hope at least one of them gets used for some stylish stoner’s smoking kit.
These embroidered fabrics were saved by my step-sister-in-law Ilaan (who also provided the fabric for my sofa, psychedelic bathrobe, and Miimii dress). They were such tiny scraps! These bags are backed with solid fabrics.
You’re never too old for a fabulous pencil case!
I totally gasped when I found this amazing blacklight sequin fabric. It’s just too perfect! I look forward to making a few fabulous pieces from this. Any suggestions?
I made them in so many different shapes and sizes, which was dictated by the individual remnants. They’re each the perfect size for something! I envisioned the smaller bags as the perfect wrapping for a jewelry gift.
Y’all know how I’m a sucker for projects that use up those wonderful little scraps. On one hand, I try to resist hanging on to “someday could be” materials. Sure, someday it could be used for whatever project I have in mind, but it’s more likely that stuff will just clutter up my life until eventually I get so frustrated that I just want it gone. On the other hand, I love using up every bit of possibility, and some fabrics are too special to let go, not matter how small the pieces are.
I’ll also have turbans and a special new shirt design in the store, but that’s for a special post. Congratulations to Adorn and Conquer on this exciting milestone!
So this happened. I was doing this:
And watching this:
It was like looking into a cartoon mirror.
So secretly, if I ever wanted to be famous, my own standard to really ‘making it’ would be to guest star on the Simpsons. I think ideally it would be as myself, so that I could achieve a form of immortality, but I can also see a lot of appeal in voicing a new character. Who am I kidding? I gotta play me.
I’ve been watching The Simpsons for about 20 years now. It’s one of the few things in my life that I don’t feel jaded about. That and knitting, pure, pure knitting. I’m kinda determined to never sell knitting, because I did that with sewing and I turned it into a job, which honestly trades some of that creativity and excitement for efficiency and tons of practice. I still really enjoy sewing, but it is so not a hobby anymore, and I want to keep knitting as a pure refuge from the whole ‘needle for hire’ lifestyle.
My husband’s been out of town for a few days, and I work from home, so I always get really chatting and confessional when I do get a chance to talk to someone. And yet I still can’t manage to get my act together for some good blogging! There I go again.