Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Covered With Little Black Fiber Bits*

It was a lovely weekend at home in SF, at least quality-time-with-family-wise. Not so much in terms of sewing, but the trade-off was a lovely drive up and down with lots of good conversation with my brother, getting to do a parenting second generation Asian-American kids workshop with my dad and sister, going to a Korean spa with my mom and sister, and then trying to get Walnut and Fenxi to webcam with each other.
Fenxi was not interested in his surrogate nephew.
Unfortunately, my mom wasn't able to locate her sewing notes; not really a surprise, though, considering it was thirty years and an ocean ago. Oh well. I guess I'll just muddle along on my own, trying to figure out what was so easy about making pants and dress shirts. But going home did yield some supplies for my current projects: my dad had a box of 100 brass eyelets that he never used from ten years ago, and my sister and I found a pair of black faux-suede flats at Wet Seal.

Project #1:
Before, except that mine was Grade B.
So here is the last accessory (at least for now, until I think of some other crazy thing to do) for my steampunk costume. I had this glass maple syrup bottle from Trader Joe's that I was about to recycle, when it suddenly struck me that it looked kind of steampunk-esque. And by kind of I mean it really just looks vaguely old-fashioned and isn't made of plastic. Anyway, I added some leather straps that I cut from the leather pants leftovers, and then used some of those brass eyelets to hold it all together. Then I decorated one side with some gears from a steampunk scrapbooking kit, sewed up the tops of the straps so I could put a piece of trim through. This means that I can take off the whole holder so as to wash my reused, reuseable drinking vessel/specimen-collecting flask. Now I just need to find a proper-sized cork to put in the top.
After: I couldn't figure out a better way to attach the gears than just plain craft glue. Oh well, no one's going to be looking that closely.
It would've looked better in brown leather instead of black, but the point was not to go buy anything new.

I didn't feel like dealing with changing my sewing machine thread for this, so instead I sewed the straps by hand. Which, you know, is so much easier. My students do things like this all the time -- in trying to save time they end up choosing an alternate strategy that takes more time than doing it properly in the first place.

Project #2:
Remember these shoes? Well, for $13.56 and a lot of time and really sore fingertips, I can haz a cuter version! Really, Charlotte Olympia, I really think that if you're going to ask people to pay $700+ for a pair of flats, the cat shouldn't be hideous and creepy. A couple of other bloggers out there have done their own DIY versions of this shoe, which, while slightly better than the original in that they're 1) much cheaper, and 2) not creepy, were still not quite what I was looking for. I wanted my cats to be fuzzy, have ears that didn't stick out, be a little more subtle, and face it, still cuter. I guess cute is in the eye of the beholder, but I love the look of ummm, more azn cats? I think what I'm looking for is the anime-inspired, super-deformed chibi cat. More nyan cat, less textbook Felis catus.

So after sketching out a face on the shoe front, I proceeded to start "embroidering." I use that term loosely, since I don't know any proper stitches and I wasn't even using proper embroidery thread, just some metallic gold Coats and Clark thread I already had. Even though it's a lot thinner, I like that the final result isn't so in your face, "THIS IS THE SHOE OF A CRAZY CAT LADY." I think.
Everything is cuter when nose-less!

Walnut sat on my laptop the whole time I was embroidering.

Close-up! Look at my sketchy stitches!

I've only finished the right shoe, but I think I'm going to give my fingers some time to recover, since I was pretty much stabbing randomly in the dark of the front of the shoe. Also, there's a lot of pressure to make the two faces more or less symmetrical, and I'm a terrible sewist when under pressure.

*The backing of the leather shed like crazy. Then the faux-suede shed like crazy.


  1. Can't wait to see the finished costume. Looks like its gonna be awesome! Will your hubs be steam punk too? Mine just suggested possibly the best family costume in the world (Drogo, Dany and our 12 mo old will be a dragon, I'm assuming you know who these people are because you seem to be into the same awesome stuff we are). I started sketching tonight and am terrified and thrilled at the possibility of pulling it off. Cheers to you and happy getting-toward Halloween!

  2. @Bree I have been having trouble talking my husband into dressing up! Maybe he will get more excited as we get closer to Halloween, but I'm not holding my breath. Although I'm not a Game of Thrones fan myself, I do know what you're talking about and I think that would be such a great family costume! Can't wait to see what yours looks like too!


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