Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sewing, crafting, drawing, designing, sewing!

I go through spurts of energy, where I'll have an intense urge to create. Often, my children or friends will push, encourage, and inspire me, or sometimes, I'll just get an idea that won't go away until I make something. Because I am who I am, once I create the object, I want to move on to the next thing. When crafting or making art, I don't usually stick to one medium for long.

Work samples of an ADD crafter/artist, 2011-2013.
Since I last posted two years ago (OMG, that's forever and I'm almost assured that nobody is reading this), I've learned to knit, took a screenprinting class and a cartooning class, made more dolls and toys for my kids, been to "Summit of Awesome" in Baltimore, been to Crafty Bastards in DC, helped my kids and friends with numerous art and design projects, and I started sewing coffee cozies for sale at my local coffee shop.

I've stuck with making the cozies longer than most of my crafting endeavors, and am looking to improve my skills at sewing by taking an actual sewing class. I'm a bit intimidated by my sewing machine at the moment, so all the sewn objects you see here have been assembled by hand.

I'm looking at a new theme with the cozies (previous theme: bargain bin/fat quarters) and am selecting fabric patterns from with a circus or carnival theme. If I don't get good results with the designs that the artists have for sale on Spoonflower, I may resort to designing my own patterns. That sounds like a fun "next thing"!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My Totoro plush is done!

Almost three months ago, Rosie and Dash enjoyed watching Toy Story 3 on video. The one thing  in the movie that stuck with Dash more than all else was that little Bonnie had a Totoro doll in her toy collection. Having never seen Totoro in doll-form before, but immensely adoring him from the fantastic Hayao Miyazaki film, My Neighbor Totoro, Dash wanted one. Badly. He knew I was capable of making dolls, and started asking me to make him a Totoro doll—and continued asking persistently, for weeks. I finally sketched it out, bought fabric and started at the beginning of November. Here's the initial sketch:

I cut out the parts, got a little burnt-out on the hand-sewing/embroidery necessary for the boomerangs on the belly and the smile, and put it aside for a few weeks after getting a little more than this far:

At the beginning of December, I'd sewn on and stuffed the belly circle, stitched the arms up and painted the pupils (with black & white nail polish) onto the buttons. All that was left was making the claws, the ears, stitching it all together and stuffing, so this weekend, I decided to finish it. Here's the final result:

And this is the happiest boy ever.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Felt ballerina doll, how-to

Here's how I made this beautiful felt ballerina doll!

This is my very first time making a doll, although of course I know how to sew, embroider and string beads. It was really the working with felt and creating the right pattern with it that was a challenge.

For materials, I started out with 5 sheets of 8 inch by 10 inch felt, although I really only needed 4, since the two sides of the doll body used one sheet when rotated. More for the next doll! The colors are light pink (for a caucasian doll), dark pink (for the dance shoes), purple for the dress, and red for the hair.

I used some tracing paper to create a pattern for cutting out the doll's body. Here's where I made my first error—the seam didn't work with felt, so after I attempted to sew it together the first time, I had to cut it down 1/8 inch all around, back to my solid line on the pattern. No big deal!

For her face, I sewed green beads on for her irises (with green thread), then embroidered her eyeliner and lashes. I sewed on seven pink beads for her pretty mouth with medium pink thread, then embroidered circles on her cheeks in the medium pink for rouge. (This image is before I trimmed the pattern down.)

I sewed the head and arms then stopped to stuff her arms and head carefully. A chopstick was an essential tool to get the stuffing to fill properly through the long arms. Once they were filled, I sewed and stuffed the torso, then down to the knees, and so on.

Then it was time to make her ballet dress (not quite a tutu). I went back to the tracing paper pattern and drew a dress pattern to fit the body. After it was cut out, I sewed the shoulder straps, placed them on the doll and sewed the rest of the dress together in place.

After the dress was complete, I winged my way through on the pointe shoes and hairdo (with ballet bun!), alternately cutting and sewing while checking the fit. For the embroidery on the hair, I used embroidery floss in red-brown.

I think she turned out beautifully! Now I just need to try it again and streamline my efforts. Since I worked on her over a few weeks, fitting in 30 mins here, an hour there, I have no idea how long the doll took to make total. I'll come back and give a time estimate later on.

Let me know if you try it out & post your results!

XO, Ms. Nylonthread

Necklace for Miss M.

I designed this necklace as a gift for Miss M., my daughter Rosie's Kindergarten teacher. From what I've noticed, she likes to wear larger, irregular stones in her adornments, so I came up with this pattern for her.

The beads are warm-toned semi-precious stones and glass with a ring clasp at the back. I hope she likes it!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Welcome to Ms. Nylonthread

Ms. Nylonthread is a blog about the jewelry and crafts that I'm creating. I have an site, Stringing Bling and this will soon be a partner/showcase for my works in progress or recently sold items. I belong to EtsyCREST, a DC/Baltimore Street Team for Etsy and they inspire me. Items that I find beautiful and inspirational are fodder for this blog!

On EtsyCREST, we just had an holiday exchange among members. I sent a necklace to a member that was assigned to me and just happened to be an excellent photographer (woot!), Terra Dawn (check out her Etsy shop!). Since I hadn't gotten around to taking any photos of the necklace, I asked her if she would mind. If only I had enough bank to hire her to take all my photographs! Gorgeous!