Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Cocktail Hat - Take 2

Okay, the hat thing... So yeah, I thought about it for a while and decided I'd try something different.

I pretty much stuck with the previous instructions for the buckram, as that seemed to work okay, it was when I covered it with fabric that things went slightly awry.

So, as the base wasn't curved enough for my liking and went all flat and wonky, this time, I tried cutting through the buckram circle from centre to outside edge and pulling the edges together to make a slight cone shape. I then stitched along the join to secure. Like so:

Yay, it worked!

I then make a similar cut into the felt material and stitched it in the same way down the join and also stitched it to the edge of the buckram to make a solid base to attach the finishing fabric.

I used the same principal as before, cutting my fabric a half inch bigger than the base and stitching at the back to hold in place. I then placed a circle of black satin on the back to cover the stitching and bound the edges with ribbon. Which went a whole lot better once I realised I'd threaded my sewing machine like a retard.

I failed to take pictures of all the stages, as I needed to finish the hat in a hurry for my friend Jennie's birthday party, but.... drum roll please.... this is how it turned out:

And the back:
All in all, it didn't look too bad, so long as you didn't look to closely. The bits I buggered up, I think I know how to fix for the next one. Woohoo! I made a hat :)

In other making things news, I also made some cupcakes for Jennie's birthday party. Which was also Valentines day, hence the hearts.

Yeah yeah, I know, I'm supposed to be a jeweller and stuff and here I am faffing about making hats and cupcakes. But stick with me, I promise something shiny really really soon...

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Sweatshopbytiq/Kawaii Parlor - Beware this Seller! AKA Royalteababy...

Ugh. Had the most awful experience of Etsy ever so I thought I'd do a little review. I attempted to purchase an Alice in Wonderland corset, kinda gothic/pirate striped top from Etsy seller Sweatshopbytiq in May last year. She eventually sent me one 4 sizes too big, even after I gave her my measurements, then told me to return it to her (at my own expense, even though it was her error) and she's still not sent me a replacement, won't provide a refund and ignores all my emails. I'll get round to typing up the whole story at some point, but basically she is a liar and a thief, so if you're ever thinking of buying anything from this seller, I would strongly advise don't. Just don't.

It just makes me sad that people have no conscience and are happy to rip you off. Sigh... Oh well, I hope karma gets her, someone steals all her money and she is left bankrupt and destitute!


Please see updated post here to find out how it all turned out and for lots more info from a ton of other people ripped off by this girl

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

How to Make a Cocktail Hat. Or, How Not to Make a Cocktail Hat...

We'll see how it turns out :)

Having googled the making of hats, I've sort of picked bits out of a few sets of instructions and combined them to see what happens...

Instruction 1. Buy hat block

Well, instant fail on that one, as they're £150. I know, I think, I'll use a mixing bowl instead, that's kind of head shaped, right...? Turns out, not so much. In fact, a mixing bowl is a very poor substitute indeed for a hat block. Remember that. Having wandered round my house looking for something head shaped, I have a sudden brainwave. Roller derby crash helmet! Well, at least it's the right shape...

Instruction 2. Acquire buckram fabric. Steam over kettle, having removed lid first to prevent it switching itself off automatically.

Aha! That I can do! Well, kinda. Please don't fill up the kettle right to the top, or you'll end up with boiling water flinging itself in your direction. Fact.

So, after tipping half the water out the kettle, I managed to steam the buckram with only occasional squeaks of pain as I put my fingers too close to the steam.

Instruction the third. Cover hat block with cling film. Pull buckram taut over hat block and secure at the bottom with elastic band. Steam each corner in turn and pull down firmly until no bumps are visible.

Doesn't sound too hard right? Well, the difficulties of pulling the elastic band down over the crash helmet (erm, sorry...hat block...) so it doesn't ping back in your face aside, it's rather a challenge to steam corners over a kettle. Aha, I think, I'll use a steam iron to direct targeted jets at the corners. Brainwave! Having consulted the boy on how one uses an iron, this actually worked quite well, and eventually I have a buckram covered helmet with minimal lumpage. Go me!

Next instruction: Draw circles using newspaper template onto the buckram, then remove from hat block.

Well, I used a set of compasses instead of newspaper, just because I seem to have about 5 sets of them for some reason, and this bit actually went rather swimmingly, it not being terribly challenging. Removing the buckram from the helmet was more troubling. I suspect it may be easier if you use an actual hat block. Anyway, buckram eventually removed and circles cut out. Tada! Now it gets a bit more tricky...

Next: Affix milinery wire around the edge of the hat base and bind.

Don't want to. Can't make me. Mainly because I want to finish the edges of the hat when I'm finished by putting it through a sewing machine, which may prove a wee bit tricky and detrimental to the machine's health if it has to sew through a bloody great bit of wire. So yes, I'm skipping this step. Oooh, naughty...

And the next one. Cover hat base with a layer of foam to the edges.

Hmmm. Is felt okay? I don't have foam... Well, seeing as I'm now firmly off-piste, instruction-wise, what harm can it do...? So, cut a circle of foam (aha, the trusty compasses again) and place over the hat base. Put in a couple of stitches to tack it in place, the cut another circle of whatever material you want your hat to be an inch or so bigger than the felt. I'm going with black satin. Just because it's there and this is kinda experimental. So, cover the felt tightly with the black satin and affix on the reverse side by pleating the material and hand sewing so you can't see the stitches on the right side.

So, how did that go? A general fail I would say. The hat base warps where I've stitched it and no longer resembles a nice little curve. Hmmmm. That'll be the point of the wire then :) Nevermind, from now on, let's completely wing it...

Next installment soon, once I've regrouped, fed the instructions to next door's cat, and worked out the best way to make it all up as I go along.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Squeal! Snow!

I woke up this morning to a six inch blanket of snow covering everything. I haven't seen snow like this for years! And despite the fact that Britain grinds to a shuddering halt every time we get more than a single snowflake, it was incredibly beautiful. I briefly considered cycling to work, but was glad I thought better of it upon seeing all the stranded, icy people walking with (and falling off) their bicycles whilst I was walking.

I took some pictures with my phone, as I've not really had a go with the little camera on it yet, and they turned out okay actually.

This is the view from my window this morning at my snow covered little garden. It looks much prettier when covered in snow and reminds me that I need to do some serious garden maintenance soon...

Highbury Fields on my way to work. It was such a nice atmosphere walking to the tube station. I had conversations with three random strangers and one small dog, which was most un-London of me.

Highbury Fields again. It ended up taking me way longer to walk to work than it should have done, as I kept stopping to make big stompy snow footprints and take pictures. Seeing as hardly anyone else in my office bothered to even turn up, I didn't feel too bad about dawdling in the end :)

A random lampost...

And a very snowy bicycle.

I walked home through Highbury Fields again, and all the perfect snow of this morning had been turned into snowmen. I wish I'd taken the day off too.

There were all sorts of snow creatures, from the disturbing, above...

To the pretty amazing...

And this one was just plain cute.
Apologies for lack of jewellery making blogging, I have suffered a slight crisis of confidence, more of which later, but tonight I shall try and make a hat...