Posted in General stuff

Visual update to the blog!

Hello my readers and Happy new year!

As you can see, I have made it to the point where I have updated the layout of Dust and fabrics to match the new soon launching Finnish version. Hopefully in the few weeks to come the translated blog will be out there available to you Finnish-speaking online friends I have. Currently I’m editing new images to cheer up the new blog just as well this old one. The new blog will have a different navigation menu, which I hope to import here, too! What this means is there will probably be links that don’t work for a while, but I hope to deal with the chaos as soon as possible. I’m really excited to get this site visually more pleasing, for the last update I made for the layout was from fall 2016! About time to change things little, don’t you think?

For future nostalgia, here’s a screenshot of the old style. I almost forgot to take it the morning I changed the theme!

Apart from blogging, I want to say that the move went well and now there’s only one week left until the beginning of my Ph.D studies. The spring seems full of possibilities at the moment!

-Essi

Posted in General stuff

Exciting announcement and plans for 2021!

I will be taking a small break from blogging over the holidays, as I’m once again moving. I have been moving twice in a row the past two Christmases, but this time however, I’m moving because I got into graduate school in Turku and will begin working there in January! I’m so happy to get back to the academic world, perhaps the research work will strengthen my creative aspirations that have been running low this past autumn.

Another big change that’s coming next year, is that I’m starting a parallel blog to this one! The new blog will have the same content as the one you’re currently reading, but only in Finnish. As I’m opening the new blog, Dust and fabrics is going to go through some updates in layout and graphics so that the new site and this one will match.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

As I’m feeling overwhelmed by the coming move, I’m not going to edit any photos for this announcement post, as fun as it would be. Instead I happened to find this pic in Pexels, so I’m using it as it perfectly describes my lack of energy and the abundance of cardboard boxes in my living room (thank you for cottonbro!)!

Have a safe Christmas and peaceful new year!

-Essi

Posted in Sewing and crafting

Paw print ornaments with salt dough

Ever since I got my guinea pigs in 2017, I’ve been planning on crafting some sort of keepsake with their paw prints, as because all of you know pets won’t live forever. This autumn younger of my piggies, Töyhtis, got seriously ill, and booking the operation she went to made me realize I should make my plans into reality rather sooner than later. I searched online for ideas and came across salt dough paw print ornaments, which I ended up crafting, but none of the tutorials I found were made for piggie paw prints or any kind of rodent’s to that matter. Apparently cats and dogs still rule the pet fandom! Like with my last post, I figured the lack of rodent-friendly salt dough ornament tutorials was a need I could fulfill, so I ended up writing this post while I’m still working on that huge DIY article on our new guinea pig cage. I hope some of you find this topic useful or even interesting at the least!


So any further intros set aside, I’m today presenting you these paw print ornaments that I made back in September. Because they were so easy to make, I made a whole dozen of them to have plenty of extras in the case of future cracking or breaking. One ornament measures approximately 4 x 5 cm, so they’re just the perfect size to hang on a Christmas tree for example, but they could of course be used to decorate anything else, too. For the ornaments I googled a salt dough recipe, so I’m not going to include one here. I have a feeling the portions of salt and flour were equal with a little splash of warm water.

The texts already available online had instructions for taking a paw print of cats and dogs, but none on rodents. Luckily, as a guinea pig owner I could figure out answers on my own to questions that arose during the crafting. I think the biggest problem with rodents compared to larger mammals is that their little mouths are closer to dough during the printing process, so one needs to be more careful with not letting them taste it. Salt dough is not poisonous at least for humans, as you all most likely know, but for small animals even smaller portions of dough include relatively large amounts of salt, so it’s best not to let them have any.

My piggies were a little startled when I had them place their paws on the flattened dough, Sade as a good girl held still but Töyhtis was more of a trouble to get a good paw print of. Before taking the paw prints I made sure the skin on their paws was intact just in case, as salt could cause irritation, and afterwards I wiped their paws with damp cloth to remove any possible residues.

I found it easiest to take many paw prints on a sheet of dough further apart from each other, and only afterwards cutting them into smaller ornaments. Reasons for this were: one, it eliminated the problem to have the paw print placed on the center of a ready-cut piece of dough (piggies were not all the time quite co-operative), and two, it reduced the pressures to get a perfect print as failed attempts were discarded. For minimalistic style I cut the paw prints to squares and rectangles, and after cutting them out I pierced a hole for attaching the loops after baking.

I remember the baking took surprisingly long. At first I followed the instructions I had, but after 45 minutes the dough was still fairly soft (I had an excess piece in the oven that I could wring to test its durance), so I ended up leaving the ornaments in the oven for almost an hour and a half.

I marked initials to recognize which print was from which guinea pig!

I had leftover satin ribbons from my Amidala’s Tatooine poncho cosplay that I could use for creating hanging loops for the ornaments after they had cooled down. I liked the natural feel to them, so I left them as they were, but like many others have done before me, I could have decorated them with paint or finish them with a coating.

The ones I made will be used as Christmas tree ornaments this year. Also some of them will find their ways into Christmas gift boxes… Family and friends, be on the lookout!

I’m happy I have finally made these. Thank heavens Töyhtis survived the operation and we hopefully have many years left with both of the girls, but when the time comes, I have a copy of their paw prints also on somewhere else than my heart to keep <3.

That was all for today! Thanks for stopping by!

-Essi

Posted in Art and thoughts

Easy way to help minimize ear lobe stretching with heavy jewelry

A fellow reader commented on my Tangle slime earring tutorial last year that I could easily prevent ear lobe stretching by sticking tape to the backs of my ears when wearing extremely heavy earrings. I was interested in the idea and tried it. To my surprise it worked out so well, that I wanted to share my experience online here with all of you! When I was pondering whether or not I should try it, I didn’t find any articles on the subject but only stores selling earring supports in the U.S.. If you live out of the United States like myself and don’t want to go ordering those items on international shipping or are just looking for an easy way to protect your ear lobes, keep on reading!


Beauty tips are not something I do on a regular basis, but as this information was lacking online, I decided to do an exception and write this little post on heavy earrings.

I remember a decade ago stretching earrings were a trend, but that seems to have passed by now. I never was into it because stretching of the lobes is permanent and the thought of that gave me chills. However I was, and I always have been into big colorful earrings, which could do the same damage over the course of continuing usage even though they are not meant for actual stretching. My granny has been wearing heavy stone earrings for almost all her life I think, and now her ear lobes seem lacy… I’m more than eager to do what I can that I won’t go the same way as her.

Below you can see me wearing one of my favorite earrings without tape, and the stretching they cause is clearly visible.

The friendly reader who pushed me into correct direction didn’t specify what kind of tape I should use, but as I wanted the maximum hold and minimum skin irritation, and opted for kinesiology tape (or elastic therapeutic tape as some sites refer to it as). The tape in question came as a roll of many meters, so it lasts for perhaps all of my life. Not bad for 7 euros! Kinesiology tapes come in many different colors, but naturally I chose the color closest to my skin, which was a good choice because in many cases the tape pieces are not completely hidden.

When I want to wear my heavy earrings, I cut two pieces about the size of my fingernail and stick them to the backs of my ear lobes. The difficult part is to get the tape in the correct spot: ideally the hook would go through the middle of the tape so the weight would spread evenly. Another challenge is to prevent hair from getting caught in the tape, but tying it on a pony during taping helps a lot!

Ah, the precision is perfect with this one…

I have found the earring hooks go through the tape extremely easy, and they never have left glue to them. When placed perfectly, the tapes are not seen, but sometimes they peek on the sides. If it happens so bad it bothers me, I have to replace the pieces completely as they don’t stick to skin again once they are removed.

Below you can see how invisible the tape is when placed perfectly, and how the tape affects the lobes.

For better comparison, here are before and after images next to each other. Looks promising, doesn’t it? The difference can be felt as well, but for that you have to count on me until you try it out yourself.

Even though the tape helps to prevent ear lobe stretching, I still never wear heavy earrings two days in a row. Letting the lobes rest does good, as does making sure the big earrings are not caught on anything when worn.

That’s all for this evening, I signing off and heading maybe to watch one more episode of Lilo and Stitch. Thank you for stopping by today!

-Essi

Posted in General stuff

Thank you to my followers via bloglovin’!

I thought I’d take a moment to write a special thanks to my bloglovin’ followers, for there are quite many of you and it was only recently I realized you exist! The notifications had gone to a different folder in my email than I expected them to go, so you can realize how happy I was to found several dozens of you at once 😀 (virtual wave!)

It was around the same time I discovered you that I also found out some of my editing choices don’t show correctly on phone version. I feel like mentioning it, because I’ve come to find a writing style that suits me and I really wish the correct tone of voice could be heard through text no matter what device you readers use… Anyways, now you know if something makes less sense than it normally would, that might be the reason to it (for example, in my latest post there’s a missing cross outline).

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Pexels.com

I’ve come to end a secret project that I can’t talk about just yet, but what it means is that I have much more time to dedicate to photo editing and writing than what I’ve had since yearly spring 2020. The long awaited Cinderella bodice is a current WIP, so its making will hopefully also get the progress it deserves. The piggie cage set-up tutorial that I mentioned in the summer is still in the writing, but I’ll keep you updated on it! (Lastly, a special thanks to Johannes Plenio whose pic was royalty-free to use to cheer up this otherwise all-text-post. The view where I live is just like it, but I couldn’t just capture its beauty myself.)

Posted in General stuff

Happy 4th blogiversary to Dust and fabrics!

This year I’m finally on time, what an accomplishment! Yeeeeaa that obviously didn’t end up happening, once again. I started to write this summary post as early as in April, so I was convinced this year I would be all done before the big day on May 30th. Thinking about it now, it might not be that big of a day after all as I’ve gotten used to continuously write and edit something new. At first these look-back posts felt like the climax of my being here, but nowadays these blogiversary texts are probably interesting only to me as I blog so little. I guess I still will be continuing the tradition into the future. We’ll see.

So, welcome to my blog if you’re a new reader, and welcome back if you somehow already know about my idealistic dreams to run a successful crafting blog. To the new readers out there, these anniversary text posts sum up my projects from the just ended blogging year and contain some spoilers about what’s to come in the year to follow.

Blogiversary4
It’s been a tradition of mine to bake muffins for every anniversary this blog has had. This year I settled for ready-made muffins.


 

In the 3rd blogiversary post I wrote that I hopefully would be able to post regularly this year, and somehow I was able to live up to that, or at least on some degree. Three texts scattered evenly throughout the year is better than what I did during my third year here, but still it’s less than what I would like to achieve. This year I got out the Cinderella skirt post I had been long dreaming about, and also described the making processes of Tangle slime earrings and Golden snitch ornaments. For me it’s hard to pick a favorite out of the three.

During May 2019 -May 2020 I finished more projects than the one that made it here (earrings were the only one: skirt and ornaments were made long before I even started to blog). The crafts that weren’t included got little images of themselves to my Instagram account at essivashti. Among other things I sewed two t-shirts and a morning robe, baked Teemo cake and drew cards for few selected colleagues. I understand now better than ever why Instagram is so popular, for it’s easier and so much faster to share mainly visual content with minimal text, but at the same time it makes me sad how even the best posts are buried there so quickly under a wave of new material. I’m definitely not the only one suffering from it, but the algorithm loads huge pressures on oneself to post quality stuff often, and it sucks the fun out of updating quite effectively because good content takes time (hence the reason I’m still blogging and not completely on IG!). Also, having two IG accounts at the same time is not something I would recommend as it doubles the stress (the other one is for my guinea pig pics at twotinypiggies).

 

Before I started to blog myself, I noticed many of my favorite bloggers going silent or reducing drastically the rate of posting after a few years and I kept wondering why. It seems that I’ve gone the same route and now that I’m there myself, I can say the reason for it is probably that it’s very draining to blog actively (and sew/craft actively) whilst working full-time. One hypothesis I have, is that high quality bloggers are drawn to professions that include some kind of writing, and writing for work kills the motivation to write as a hobby. I don’t know for sure about that though, but gut feeling is strong! Someone could make a Gallup so we could find out the truth 😀

As these summary texts provide more space than usual for pondering the philosophical sides of creativity, have any of you ever felt the continuous flow of fresh ideas as a double-edged sword? As household chores and the said full-time work take up almost all of the week schedule, there just isn’t time to turn the ideas into reality. Then what follows, at least for me, is that the gathering pile of unfulfilled crafting dreams won’t leave my conscious mind alone until they have taken some kind of concrete form in this world. Usually I feel like I can’t do even that and then the crushing amount of ideas drains me of my motivation and I have even less energy for anything! It’s like a vicious cycle I can’t break and on the other hand don’t even want to because the ideas and creative thinking are what makes life worth living.

Jäätelökuva
This spring I bought an ice cream maker and for while I dreamed of starting my own ice cream blog… It would have been called “Essin tölöt”, but I’m better off running only this one site 😀 The ice cream above is sea buck-thorn flavored.

The fifth year of Dust and fabrics has already begun, but nevertheless I’d like to share a little about what’s to come. My bf and I built a guinea pig cage at the beginning of June and I photographed the whole process, so writing a tutorial on that is my next go-to topic. I also already finished a knit sweater that I had been working on for the last 6,5 years, which really is something to be proud of even if that doesn’t get its own post! Like the previous years, I plan on sewing the Cinderella skirt a matching bodice and photographing the whole ensemble. Fingers crossed I’ll have time for it now and get it posted before next years anniversary. I also plan on sewing everyday wear such as regular tees and a couple of skirts, but considering the time and energy available some of those won’t be happening just now. I still dream of writing about my Padmé homestead poncho from Star wars II and sharing the technique with 3D crocus appliques, both of which I first mentioned many years ago and still haven’t done. Oh well!

 


 

I think that’s enough mismatched ramblings for today. I used to share some facts about my written articles in general as a part of these sum-ups, but I have nothing new to add to what I stated year ago. The DIY Bulbasaur jar tutorial still seems to bring people here, and I still haven’t written anything as massive as the Deadpool jumpsuit post. Those two will probably forever be my top achievements online.

Thank you very much for stopping by! Now I’m off to editing those pictures for a guinea pig cage tutorial!

-Essi

Posted in Sewing and crafting

Two different kinds of Golden snitch ornaments from recycled materials (beginner’s DIY tutorial)

Today I’m taking you with me on a time travel to seven and a half years ago. That was when I made my first DIY tutorial that got posted online! I’m been thinking over and over again whether or not I want to publish this old Christmas-themed tutorial in my blog now that I have one, and last Christmas I finally decided to go for it but our moving to a new apartment made it so that I got time to write it only in January and then came all the hassle with corona virus and then it was suddenly April! I’m either very late or very early to post Christmas content but a creative mind has to do what inspires it, right?

The 2012 me didn’t know how to properly edit pictures, so some of these are not of the quality I’m proud of, but never mind. In my defense I have to say my cameras were quite low quality back then :’). I made these tutorials for a Christmas event on the Finnish Harry Potter fan forum Vuotis and it was so well received that a part of me believes there will be at least few readers who find it interesting now in 2020.

This tutorial shows two different kinds of golden snitch ornaments, a wet-felted one and a glittery one. The glittery one looks more festive, so I store with Christmas decorations and hang it only on our Christmas tree every year. The felted-one is more casual-looking, so it hangs from a doorknob to make our living room look more whimsical throughout the year.


 

As the title says this is a DIY tutorial, even more than the ones I’ve been writing for quite a while. What makes this more tutorial-y, is that the first picture shows all the materials together before the first step! One the right you can see materials for the first option, wet-felted snitch, and on the left for the second, the glittery one. Wet-felted snitch uses golf ball as its base. For felting you need wool, soap and water. Its wings were made from white felt, so needless to say, this option requires needle and thread for assembling.The glittery snitch requires hot glue, a plastic sheet (I used lid from a food package), acrylic paints, a brush, regular wood glue and glitter (d’ah!). The glitter snitch was made from that light hollow ball that they use on roll-on deodorants.

Supplies_snitches
Oh and by the way, scissors are useful to have around when crafting either one, but you probably knew it without even mentioning!

Option 1: Wet-felted golden snitch

I might not be the best person to describe in fullest detail how wet felting works, but in short, tufts of wool are made to shrink and their fibers stick together by rubbing them together with warm water and soap. It’s possible to felt a ball from just wool, but I chose to felt my snitch on a golf ball so that the ready-made ornament would have a weight to it. Also it requires less wool that way!

So, the first step was to wrap a thin layer of wool around the ball, wetting it thoroughly and start rubbing it with soapy hands.

Felt_1

Because it’s quite hard to make the wool stay in place while you’re felting it, I cut the toe part off of a no-good-to-use-anymore panty hose, placed the ball into it and continued the process that way (the sock keeps the wool pressed firmly to the ball and makes felting faster). Every time each layer was good, I added a little more wool.

Fetl_2

I continued adding more layers until the ball had grown few centimeters in every direction. For the last layer I added a very thin layer of light brown: it makes the yellow glow in a gilded way.

When the felting was all done, it was very important to rinse out all soap and let it dry completely before sewing the wings on. I can’t remember exactly, but the drying time was more than a full day, maybe 48 hours?

Felt_3
For size reference, here’s the felted ball next to a golf ball.

While the ball was drying, it was time for making the wings. I drew a wing shape by hand, traced it four times on a sturdy white felt and cut the pieces out.

Felt_4

The next step was sewing two pieces together to form one wing. You could do this by hand, but it’s faster and the end result is more even when done with machine, so I chose to go that way. Wide black satin stitch emphasizes the edges and gives a cartoony look, which I like, but you could of course use any other color or stitch width as well.

Felt_5

When the felt ball was all dry, the wings were sewn on by hand. I used the same thread as in the previous step, so the stitches became almost invisible.

Felt_6

The last thing to do was to create a loop from heavy-duty thread and sewing it on the snitch. I was able to hide the ends completely by tucking them under the knot – the photo below shows a neat trick on how to prevent the area under the knot from becoming a total mess: between every stitch I pulled the needle out from a distance and poked it back in from almost the same spot. In addition to distributing the stitches to a wider area it makes the attachment more durable by securing the loop to a larger amount of felt.

Felt_7

In all it’s glory that was everything that there was to make a wet-felted golden snitch. Simple, but effective! (For final look scroll to the end.)

 

Option 2: Glittery golden snitch

The glittery snitch is in its way more fun to make but also much messier. The wet-felted option ended with attaching the loop, but the glittery one begins with it. The loop comes in handy when we’re later dipping the ball to glitter!

So obviously, the first step with this option was making a loop from heavy-duty thread. I preferred tying the ends of a folded strand together with (three times knotted) overhand knot, but you could of course use any other types of knots as well.

Sparkly_1
The loop was by the way made in the same way for felted snitch as described in here!

The loop was then hot glued to the deodorant ball. I made sure to immerse the knot and the ends in glue so that the final result would be neater. The ends that you can see popping out below were cut off before the next step, which was preparing the glitter.

Sparkly_2

The glitters that I had were all plain one-colored powders, which looked really dull on their own and that really bugged me. I remember scrolling through the net for ideas and then I found a tip from somewhere that said combining many different colors of glitters is worth trying, so I did just that and at what result! 😮 If you’re ever using glitter, I highly recommend trying mixing a few! For the snitch I mixed gold, copper, yellow and white iridescent glitters into one and I think the color I got was just right!

Sparkly_3
For mixing the glitters I used a clean yogurt cup as you might have already noticed.

To coat the ball I first covered it with wood glue (also the hot glue part) and then carefully placed into the cup. Next I covered the top of the cup with the palm of my hand and gave it a shake! Such easy, much beautiful.

Sparkly_4

After I had hanged the ball to dry it was again time to make some wings. This time I drew the shape on a paper and then traced it twice on a lid of a used food package (if you’re recreating this, remember to cut right and left versions!). The wings were then cut out and the colored side was painted white with a hint of light blue on the edges. The interior of the wings were left unpainted.

Sparkly_5

When the paint on the wings and the glue on the ball had dried, they were hot glued together. (If you’re crafting this there on the other side of the screen, I suggest you try and watch how the ball hangs on its own before deciding the place for wings.)

Sparkly_7

With that the glittery golden snitch was also finished, so now it’s time for a final picture! The photo below is the original finished product photo from 2012, so I wanted to use it here as well, but it’s so yellowy that it makes me want to cringe quite bad!

Goldensnithes

To end this tutorial I’m doing something I’ve seldom done here: asking you some questions! 😀 What are your opinions on these crafted versions of golden snitches? Harry Potter fan pages are packed with tutorials like this so you’ve probably seen something similar before, but did I perhaps add any knowledge to your crafting methodology? Would you be interested in making these yourself one day?


 

It’s been so long since I made these ornaments that I can’t anymore remember where the inspiration came from. I’m still happy that I made them, and writing this made me want to pursue my plan with the rest of the wool I have lying around: wet-felted slippers in the style of Van Gough’s Starry night! I have all the materials needed but my energy levels are continually so low that I can’t start the work (also the long-planned Cinderella ball gown bodice is waiting to be sewn, but let’s not discuss that topic any further or I’ll start developing anxiety whether I ever finish it or not). I have also more those deodorant-balls that would be really cool to turn into glittery Mickey/Minnie Mouse ornaments! We’ll see when I manage to craft them, because one day I will.

Thanks for dropping by! We’ll get back to it hopefully soon!

-Essi

Posted in General stuff

I’ll get back to blogging at the beginning of 2020

The tutorial I had planned on posting in December will have to wait because my little family and I are moving to a new place before New year. As you all will probably understand, working, packing and making Christmas preparations is enough to fill one’s calendar full-time, so blogging will have to subside till life returns back to normal. I’m sad about it, but sometimes things have to change and maybe sometimes they’re for the better.

Hope you like to see Christmas ornaments still in January (that’s the tutorial I’m working on)!

 

I wish you warm and happy holidays,

Essi

Posted in Sewing and crafting

DIY Tangle slime earrings

I’ve been so inactive online that I have many projects from the current year that I haven’t been able to share with you. One of them are these cute kawaii style Tangle slime earrings I made from polymer clay already back in February.

Tangle slimes are creatures from Monomi parks popular game Slime Rancher. The game became very dear to me in 2017 when I was struggling with my MA thesis: playing it was the best way to unwind after stressful writing session. Still to this day it’s one of my favorite computer games!

At the start of 2019 I was feeling low because of not feeling home in a new place, and so I decided to cheer myself up with a cute little craft. All kinds of slimes from Slime Rancher make me smile, but I chose Tangle slimes for this project since they represent well my love for plants (and even tough I look cute and am vegetarian, like Tangle slimes I too sometimes could eat a whole chicken in one sitting!).


 

These earrings were made from polymer clay. For those of you who’ve never worked with it before, it’s rather quick to sculpt and bake, but this project took still many days because of painting and varnishing. For these earrings I only had one color of clay (poison green) and didn’t want to go buy more as I quite seldom do polymer crafts. The reason for having green clay lying around, was that it was bought for making a key chain pickle Rick for my boyfriend, which ended up not happening. Yet. I still have plenty of leftovers, so that may happen one day.

For sculpting the slimes I made two balls with a diameter of ~1,5 cm, many smaller balls for stamen, two ropes for the line between stamen and petals, and a rolled sheet to cut the petals out of.

Tangleslime_1

From the sheet of clay I cut eight petals for each slime ball. In the game Tangle slimes have fewer petals, but somehow I missed the detail and went with a more abundant look. The petals were pressed on to the large balls, then a ring made from the rope was pressed on top of them and several mini balls placed on top for stamen. Eyes and mouth were carved with children’s playdough tools.

I chose to punch a hole for wire at this point instead of drilling it later on. For one, it’s easier to press through unbaked clay, and secondly, I don’t own a correct size of drill to do it. For baking I followed instructions on the packing.

Here are the slimes before baking.

Tangleslime_2

And after. The slimes kept their shape very well through it. The only thing that changed was their color. (Good to know the shade changes a little when I’m using the scraps.)

Tangleslime_3

When the slimes had cooled properly, it was time for painting. My acrylics are cheap hobby grade, so they aren’t all as opaque as one could hope (especially yellow). Because of this I had to prime the slimes three times with white before applying any color. Yellow color had to be applied in layers, too, to get it bright enough.

My brush strokes became more and more unstable as I grew tired, so unfortunately my slimes’ little faces got paint stains on them… Fortunately they still look happy, so probably should I!

Tangleslime_4

The area around the stamen and in the mouths were hard to paint: I had to use size 00 brush for them. For 3D effect I applied darker yellow around the petals and poked little dots of white into the eyes. The stamen ring (or whatever it’s called) got ombréd with yellow by applying only one layer of paint.

Tangleslime_5

When the paint had dried, I coated the slimes with the same indoor varnish I have always used. The varnishing was easier when I placed them on grill sticks!

Tangleslime_6

After all those steps the slimes themselves were ready, and I could start turning them into earrings. To make the slimes into pendants, I threaded eye pins through them and twisted the tops secured.

Tangleslime_7

Then the only thing left to do was adding earring hooks to eye pin loops! I used ones made from sterling silver to avoid any possible future hypersensitivities. With that the earrings were done and I could start stretching my earlobes.

Tangleslime_8

And no kidding, I really do mean I started stretching my earlobes for I misjudged the size, and the slimes are just a little too heavy for every day wear. I’m still very happy with them, however, and use them regularly, but the next time I make something similar the size needs to be closer to a one centimeter than two.


 

So that wraps up today’s DIY tutorial to a nice close. Did you notice that this time I was able to accurately predict the publishing time? I’m getting good at scheduling my blogging routine or knowing realistically how much time I’m able to invest into it in the course of hectic work life. Yay me! The next post could be another cute little DIY tutorial as well… I have a ready photo series from years back on a self drafted Harry Potter Christmas ornament, and as my next blog post will most likely take place in December it would be very season appropriate!

Thank you for reading as per usual!

Posted in Notes on completed projects

Notes on Cinderella 2015 skirt, a low cost ‘student budget’ version

As blogging has been so tough for me, I decided the easiest way to get back on track was to start with something that makes me feel excited. Even though the making of this skirt took place more than three and a half years ago, still looking at its ruffly fullness gives me positive chills. I made this Cinderella skirt in uni for an anniversary celebration of my department’s student union. The style was so popular in 2016 that there were at least three girls at the party with more or less full versions of Cinderella’s dress! The bodice I wore to the celebration dinner was a black silk corset, for I felt little uncomfortable to go so clearly in a ‘costume’ and also I didn’t have time to sew the according bodice even if I had wanted to.

Categorizing this post was hard, but I decided to go for Notes on completed projects because I had somehow lost the few pics I had of its making so the photos seen below have been taken this year. Full dress tutorial will have wait until the bodice will be done.. The Cinderella 2015 bodice is still in the making after these three years, but when that is ready and edited it will be sorted into the more proper cosplay section and of course linked to this one.


 

To me it seems like every cosplayer there is was awed by Cinderella’s ballgown in the live action remake, and I’m definitely one of those people. I’ve seen many self-made replicas online with the focus on sheerness, glimmering and layering of organza on the skirt, which makes me think those were the main reasons people loved the gown so much. However, no matter how many shades of blue the ballgown had, the thing which struck a chord with me was the weight of the hem. (At this point I feel appropriate to ask, have you seen the way it moves? If you’ve forgotten, here’s the perfect spot to google and refresh your memory).

As I said I’ve found many awesome DIY sewing tutorials on the subject, so at first I was hesitant to write my own version because the screen accuracy is not as high as in some. The reason why I chose to start writing this text in the first place was the extremely low budget I used for the project. I feel like sharing my hints on how to add fullness with minimal material could help some fellow seamstresses out there.

Because I was working on a low budget, it was clear from the start that the layering of organza was out of question. The gown has many different shades of color depending on the lighting, so anything could have been possible from silvery grey to bright turquoise to purplish blue for a self-made replica. My choice was lavender, partly because of available fabric choices and partly for the song in the movie (“Lavender green, lavender blue”). Also, lavender blue suits me, which was an important factor as well to consider.

I was lucky to find the correct shade of lavender blue mix fabric at my local market at the time. For economical reasons it was unimportant what material the fabric would be, it only needed to drape well and be as lightweight and as cheap as possible. At the market there were four pieces of 3 meters à 1,5 m of fabric there, for 3 euros each in discount. So the main fabric for the skirt cost whooping 12 euros in total! (Here where I live one seldom makes deals like this for fabric purchases.) In addition to that I had to buy few meters of poly-satin for the ruffles, zip ties for the hoops and a zipper for closure. Rest of the fabric materials where light curtain scrap pieces, thread and hooks I already owned, so they were free. I think the total cost of the skirt was around 35-45 euros, which was not too bad, and surprisingly the large zip ties ate a fair amount of the budget.

Before I dive into details on its making, here is the skirt as it nowadays looks. It has been washed at least once and the zip tie hoops have been distorted because of being tucked away in closet, but otherwise it looks as pretty as it did.

Cindskirt_1new

And the back. The silhouette looks flatter than it used to, but I’m planning on replacing the zip ties somewhere in the future. Next time I’m wiser and will remove the hoops for storage.

Cindskirt_2new

The skirt closes with zipper and two hooks inserted on the center back. The hooks are obviously sewn on the inside of the waistband whereas the zipper ends ruffly at the seam. I couldn’t find a matching zipper so I decided to pick a color near the shade of the ruffles.

Cindskirt_3

Speaking of which, taking care of the weight and the movement of the hem, underneath the overlay there are five tiers of ruffles at the hem. The satin for the ruffles is light blue in color, so they give a little contrast to the lavender, but in my opinion in a lovely way.

Cindskirt_4

The ruffles are plenty: I counted that I had to hem over 40 meters of satin strips for them. I remember having just two meters of the satin originally; the ruffles are only 6 centimeters in height to minimize material requirements. Surprisingly, no scraps were left after cutting the strips.

Cindskirt_5

As for the actual making process, I didn’t have any pattern for the skirt. It’s just a big bunch of rectangles that make up four layers of increasingly ruffly tiers for fullness and a circle skirt overlay.

I planned the cutting so that the scrap material would be minimal like I always do: two pieces of the lavender mix were dedicated for the circle skirt (half a circle per piece; the scraps of these will have to suffice for the bodice) and the remaining two for the rectangles on the layers that go underneath it. Extra scraps of light curtains and tulle were also included for them. With the plentiful lavender mix I started the cutting with the widest and the narrowest rectangles, and always cut as long a strip as the fabric permitted. The method is actually very versatile: cutting the material this way enables to use any kind of (minimal) fabric amount for any kind of body measurements for large ruffly skirts; the only thing that changes is how densely gathered the tiers will be. I discussed the method in greater detail in my old tutorial on a petticoat which also included a graphic on a similar cutting plan.

The first layer in this skirt is obviously the simplest. It had to be made of the lavender fabric because it had to support the hoops (rest of the material were too thinly woven). I chose not to do any separate petticoat, because that would have required much more tulle and much more sewing. The lowest tier in this layer has very decent amount of gathering, but anyhow still a light blue ruffle. I can’t remember the exact size of the hoops, but I was very careful not to make the smaller at the level of my knees too big; too steep angle would have looked unnatural and ridiculous. The bigger one at the bottom of the lower tier is in turn generously larger for beautiful bell shape. The hoops (made from 1 cm wide and 37 cm long zip ties taped together) have channels for them sewn on the tiers with bias tape.

Cindskirt_6

The second layer has more densely gathered tiers than the precious one. The lower tier in this layer is longer in height than the lower tier in the first layer so that the seams won’t align, and this was repeated on the layers to come. The end result is smoother this way as you probably guessed. The gathering was done by shoving under the presser foot à la Angela Clayton as usual.

Cindskirt_7

The third layer has three tiers instead of two. The ruffliness began to be quite abundant here.

Cindskirt_8

The fourth and the last under layer was made completely from lavender mix, in case it would be seen. Apropos, every layer is by the way a little longer than the last to make the hem even.

Cindskirt_9

This last layer actually doubles in the hem: as you can see I sewed another ruffly strip to it. I used this same method for maximizing fullness with minimal material back in the petticoat tutorial linked a few paragraphs back.

Cindskirt_10

The overlay is a full circle skirt as I already stated. If I had had more experience with circle skirts back then, I would have cut the inner circle larger and gathered it down. The gathering would have added to the illusion of a petite waist, but the way I made it doesn’t look that bad either.

In length the skirt is exactly from my hips to a few centimeters of the floor when I’m wearing heels. My mannequin Lola is shorter than I am, so she stood on a pile of books to help me vision the right appearance when I was pinning everything together.

Cindskirt_11

The skirt in itself is quite heavy, so the waistband had to be durable enough to carry it. For the waistband I used a scrap piece of my heaviest upholstery fabric for the interior and strengthened it with fusible interfacing (also the heaviest I had). Even tough the skirt weighs full 2 kilos, it stays on really nice because I cut the waistband to be five centimeters smaller than my waist is. The waistband has two lines of top stitching to keep everything in place.

Cindskirt_13

The four under layers were made from rectangles, so their tops had be pleated down to fit the waistband. To reduce bulk I sewed the last of the layers to the third one maybe four centimeters below the top before the assembly. This also helped to prevent fourth layer from being to short!

Cindskirt_14

The picture below has a better look at the pleats. The majority of them focus on the center front and back (with one big box pleat in the middle and smaller knife pleats towards the center). I can’t remember the logic behind it, since looking back at it, it would have made a lot more sense to emphasize the hips by placing the folds there. I guess I thought the hem would be elliptical to sides this way?

I was also so lazy (or in busy) that I didn’t finish any of the gaps at the back with anything but zigzag as the zipper covers everything.

Cindskirt_15

But however, I did take to the time to get the hand-sewn hem stitching on the circle skirt piece look the best I could. I’m almost blind when it comes to these blind stitches (pun intended). 

Cindskirt_12

As a conclusion, I’m still very happy and proud of the skirt on the whole. I think it came together really nice. To this day, I still haven’t danced in it, but instead attended a full formal dinner which should tell something about its comfort when worn. One could think that a skirt as big as this is a little inconvenient, but in reality the zip tie hoops are so flexible that it’s easy to sit down on a table even when there’s little room.

Lastly, after those fifteen pictures and way too many words as usual, I’d like to discuss the subject on a deeper level still. I’m happy to have finally got the notes on this amazing skirt out there, for it has been on my to-do blogging list for quite some time. In addition to that, I have a dream that one day this post links to a matching bodice tutorial at Dust and fabrics and then I’ll have a full Cinderella 2015 DIY sewing post set available for anyone to read. Having posted this I’m already half way there! I think I’ve never mentioned this before, but reading different blogs with adult-size Disney dress tutorials via Happily grim was one of the main reasons I decided to start my own blog in 2016.

Getting back on track to blogging with something exciting helped me somewhat, because I’ve already begun writing on my DIY Tangle slime earrings, which should come up next. Stay tuned (=return in November probably) for that if you’re interested!

Thank you for reading!