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Surf to Summit Top Pattern - Out now!

DIY Wedding Fascinator - in progress

6 September 2010, 15:39

The Gown is progressing nicely, the shoes are bought and are being broken in little by little (while doing such glamorous tasks as watering the garden and taking out the rubbish!), so it’s now time to focus on my hair. In the past I’ve made fascinators (First in gold and then in silver) with a comb base that worked well for my long, thick, and straight hair, but post-chemo my hair is only two of those things so I’m using a headband for the base of this fascinator. In some strange twist of Life Imitating Art, my hair looks almost exactly like it does in the wonderful cartoon of us drawn by John Allison way back in March when I had barely any hair at all!

It appears that my “How to Make a Fascinator” tutorial vanished off BurdaStyle during one of their site moves, so I’m really glad I saved it as a Pdf a while ago so you can download it here now!

In the past my construction technique mostly centred around the glue gun, but for this one it just felt a bit wrong to do so when the rest of the ensemble is full of couture techniques. So for this base I used two teardrop shaped pieces of blue wool felt (the only colour I had on hand), with one of them stiffened with the ultra-rigid interfacing I used on my sun hat. I then covered this felt with a scrap of the vintage dress satin, stitched on the underside to prevent any puckers at the edges. You could omit this step if your felt matches the colour of whatever you’re covering it with, but the blue kept showing through the first few layers of feathers so I needed the satin layer.

I specifically chose a thin headband that had a fabric covering around it so I’d have something to anchor my stitches to, so keep this in mind while you’re shopping, as it’d be difficult to sew onto an all-plastic band (in which case you’re probably better off using glue). I then sewed the satin-covered base onto the headband, making sure my stitches went around the band each time for strength. Since the top was being covered in feathers, I didn’t bother to hide my stitches on the top side.

Once the decoration attachment is all complete, I’ll stitch the other blue felt piece to the underside of it all to hide the stitches (and band) and create a bit of grip on my hair.

Here’s the fascinator with just the white goose feathers attached:

Sewing these onto the base was way easier than I was expecting. I just took 2 or 3 stitches over the central portion of the feather near the base, and that was enough to keep them secure. I’m leaving them unattached at the tips because as the headband stretches whilst worn, the feathers stay close to my head anyway.

Here’s the underside so you can see my stitches and that super-stiff interfacing:

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Lime running jacket, mittens & hat

5 January 2010, 21:19

I really really liked this fleece jacket, KnipMode 12/2008 #21, ever since the issue came out, and I’ve been waiting for the right time to grab some bright fleece and make it ever since.

It uses lycra edging tape (which Pennine Outdoor thoughtfully stock in addition to all the right high quality fleeces and chunky zips!) to bind the sleeve and neck edges as well as act like a sort of piping-without-the-pipe along the princess seams and that top yoke edge.

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Chemo hats - with pattern!

12 August 2009, 17:56

It was inevitable, but still I hoped I could avoid the hair loss that comes with the chemo in my bone marrow transplant… I was expecting it to be instantaneous, but in reality, my hair didn’t start falling out until 3 weeks after the first dose of chemo, so I’m really glad I thought ahead and made myself some comfortable knit caps before I went into hospital, based on my own design.

I know there’s tons of chemo hat patterns out there, but IMHO, most just scream “old lady chemo” to me, and as I’m neither old nor wishing to particularly associated with chemo, I wanted something a bit cleaner and less, err, wacky/zany. I mean, if I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing that hat when I’m well, why would I want to put it on my head when I’m feeling crappy, fat, and unattractive already??

So I came up with this method for making what’s essentially a swimming cap made from stretchy knit materials. I knew I definitely want the back of my head covered, though, so you’ll see that my pattern dips down in the back to cover every last bit of Homer Simpson-esque wisps. If you’re a sewer, it’s a great use of scraps, and if you’re not, it’s a great way to recycle old teeshirts! Even if you’ve got some great wigs like I do, I find these absolutely indespensible for wearing around the house and sleeping in! Think of the wigs like your heels, and these like those comfy slippers…


The finished photo here is quite grainy and this one’s looking more baggy than it does in real life (honestly!), but you can get the idea of what we’re aiming towards here!

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Floppy sun hat

9 July 2009, 10:50

I had the itch and energy to sew on Monday (Day -2) so I spent a few hours working on my first activity pack. Because even after I get out, I’ll have to avoid all exposure to the sun for the next two years to avoid aggravating graft vs host (Gvh) disease, so I thought this wide brimmed, floppy sun hat from the May 09 Burda (#141) looked like a good way to ease myself back into sewing and eventually shield my face and shoulders from Mister Hurty McSunshine.

This hat pattern comes in two sizes – 56 or 58cm head circumference (I made the latter as I’ve got a fat head), and I really wanted to make sure the brim stayed nice and stiff to get the maximum shade, so I picked up some incredibly stiff fusible canvas the last time I was in MacCulloch & Wallis.

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Silver linen dress in situ

10 September 2008, 15:12

I’m a bit late in getting the photos from last weekend’s wedding off James’s computer, but I know some of you were waiting to see how the silver linen shift dress and the matching fascinator looked together, so here you go!

This banner was actually up outside the venue advertising an upcoming wedding expo, but it was too good for the bride and groom (and us!) to pass up for photos…

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Silver wedding fascinator

26 August 2008, 12:01

You may remember that I made my silver linen dress to wear to our friends Holly and Simon’s wedding this weekend. While at Holly’s delightful (and crafty!) hen party / tea party on Sunday, I mentioned that I was debating whether to make a matching fascinator and it was demanded that I comply!

So in the spirit of my first fascinator, I got out a bit of scrap plastic, some soft, squishy fleece, silver linen leftover from my dress, and grey netting and went to town…

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Fascinating stuff

8 December 2007, 16:21

While I’m pretty much in love with every dress from the November Burda WOF cocktail collection, I found myself flipping back to the yellow dress, #105 more than the rest. It’s only 4 pattern pieces, but that 90 degree dart at the waist is just too cool, and I’m very much into sheath dresses this year. I still had some gold duchess satin leftover from the pirate jacket lining, so I lined up the pieces and was able to fit the dress out of the fabric with hardly any scraps to spare (I just love it when that happens!).

I’m still waiting on the invisible zipper I ordered online to be delivered, but as I was waiting I thought I’d try my hand at making a fascinator to match the dress!

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