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Monday, October 29, 2012

Thank You & Good Night ;)

Happy Halloween everyone! I am just teasing about the Good Night part of the title, I’m around if anyone needs me. I am admittedly recouping a little bit from the Halloween crafting season, my hands are pretty raw, but this post is not about me. Instead, I wanted to pop in and thank each and every one of you. That’s right-YOU! My customers were so polite and friendly this year. You were all really great and I cannot thank you enough for your orders, your patience, and also for a lovely season that can so easily turn into madness if one is not ever so careful. 

Thank you also for your friendly correspondence and new ideas as well, I really enjoyed working with each of you even if I have been slow or short in my responses as of late. Please know it was simply because for the last few weeks my work hours have been from around 4am-6pm with a short dinner break and then online updates and messages sent and then back to the craft shop while the rest of the world slept to keep the costumes rolling late into the evening..or early in the morning as the case may have been. And yes, that adorable little baby cheetah running into the wind is exactly how I felt rushing each day to the post office to get all of these packages mailed hehe. 

My work journal from the last few weeks looks something like this…

Lindsay’s Shop Scrap Notes (just a random day in the life of a Crafter during the Halloween season)-written on scraps of paper from an assortment of papers including but not limited to old Bills Calendar pages, sewing pattern scrap paper, extra scrap papers from painting crafts, old mail, sometimes new mail, and even the edges of newspaper when nothing else is near by….

4:00 am: woke up, made coffee. Cut fabrics for items. 
4:23 am: fell asleep in chair/ coffee took to (bleeping) long to brew, cut the rest of the fabrics...
5:15 am: I think I just inhaled some Bam Bam fabric. This coffee is weak :/
10:15 am: I can’t believe I’m still sewing these Pebbles on these tunics…
1:45 pm: maybe I need a break, I can’t feel my right or left leg. 
2:15 pm: ok, I am definitely taking a break now, the machines are hot and need to cool down.
5:15 pm: I got 10 packages shipped, 15 more wrapped and ready to list and I went through 4 lint removers trying to get the fuzzy Gnome, Pebble and Bam Bam fabrics from colliding.
7 pm: I thought I was so smart to put my good scissors on a tether by the sewing machines until I cut my tether. Good Scissors MIA. Help…
9:45 pm: I have to stop eating dinner so late. Or is it still considered dinner if I am going to do a late night costume making run in the shop and work until 2 am tonight?

Now the good news is I had already gone shopping & picked up materials: Here is my average Halloween Shopping list, separated into fabrics and then notions. It’s crazy long I know…

Fabrics: Bam Bam fabric, red felt, pink felt, brown felt for Mr Potato head nose, white felt for mr potato head mouth and eyes, black felt, beard fabric, potato head fabric, Audrey Hepburn fabric, sheer white curtain fabric for the Princess Danni Dresses, Suede cloth fabric for the Princess Danni Belts, green and blue fleece for the Pebbles costumes, white fabric, red and white polka dot fabric, dark brown felt, brown cuddle fabric, off white jersey fabric, cheese cloth and silk fabrics to mix into the Mummy Wrap Dresses. Moda gauze or similar lining fabric for the Princess Danni Dress

Notions and such: (lots) thin elastic, 1” wide elastic, buttons, (lots and lots) velcro, safety pins, lint removers (one for every male gnome costume package plus many for myself for cleaning off these costumes ready to shipping), gift bags and ties for notions, sewing kits, etc., extra sewing needles and thread for sewing kits, glue gun glue, skeleton hands, snaps, gold trim, gold elastic, gold thread, thin gold trim for the Princess Danni belt, turquoise thread, red thread, black thread, white thread, silky white thread for the beard, extra lint removers for me, mini spring clips for the Pebbles bones and Mummy Wrap Dresses, stuffing for the Bam Bam bone at the hip of the costume, for the bat for the Bam Bam costume, and for the Pebbles Hair accessories, Hair clips for the Bam Bam costume hair accessories, brown thread, green thread, lace, light blue teal thread,  long white zippers, and yarn. Gold spray paint, and gold fabric paints in light gold, white, blue, and copper. Foam pieces for the Princess Danni dress stone pieces. Dark Gold (non fabric) paint. Tissue Paper, business cards, tags, labels, cards, little bags, packaging supplies, extra scissors. 

Daily Objective: make Everything Halloween…

Including: 22 pebbles tunics, 24 Male and Female Gnome costumes, 22 Pebbles Bloomers to match, Bam Bam Costumes, Mr & Mrs Potato Head costumes, and again, everything else…

Level of possible success in relation to project: near impossible but do it anyway


Cut all fabrics to sew.
>Cut the various Pebbles tunic front and back and bottom frill pieces, Pebbles Bloomers to match, Bam Bam shorts and shoulder straps, Gnome hats, Beards and eye brows, Belts, belt buckles for the male gnome belts, and female gnome apron pieces including the apron panel, the two pockets per apron, the strips of lace needed, and the waist tie. Cut elastic tabs for the gnome hats. Cut the brown felt for the Bam Bam Bats. Cut the pebbles from black felt to sew on the Pebbles tunics. Cut the white pieces for the Pebbles bones (include all Bam Bam costumes and Pebbles costumes when counting bones needed as you need one per costume). Cut the materials needed for the Mummy Wrap Dresses including accounting for 4 mini spring clips needed for each costume, 1 for the veil and 3 for the creepy skeleton hair clips.

Now that I have my materials in the shop and my fabrics cut, this is the system I go with for optimum sewing. This is how I intend for it all to run throughout the season. So if I receive orders, you can count on the fact that I am not just making your order, I am making probably at least 10 of a similar order to yours, plus all the rest. I have definitely gotten better at coordinating all of these aspects to the Halloween costumes and as I look to next years orders and expectations, I can say I really will need this list I am presenting here to keep my head on straight. Especially since a few of my last minute Halloween costume plans for the little ones and adults alike were not finished, so I will just hold off in many cases until later on in the year before releasing those.


Black Thread in machine-sew black Pebbles onto the Pebbles tunics-put aside as not finished, sew the black Male Gnome Belts including Velcro tabs-put aside as not yet finished. Make the black mustache for Mr Potato head and put aside until the white thread is up.

Brown thread in the machine-Sew the Bam Bam shorts and shoulder straps-put aside as finished from the sewing area. Sew the bats and put aside as finished from the sewing area. I move all items finished from the sewing area to a table where I add the notions such as the stuffed bone and button at the end, lint remove and package for photos and then delivery.

Green thread in the machine: sew the long strips for the bottom frill for the Pebbles tunics, put aside. Sew the neckline front and back at the arm openings for the Pebbles tunics, sew front and back together, include frill on the bottom and put each aside as finished.

Turquoise thread in the machine and sew all Pebbles bloomers. Put aside as finished.

Yellow Thread in the machine: sew all gold buckles on the gnome belts and put aside as finished.

Red thread in the machine: sew all read hats, including ties for the female hats and put those aside as finished. Sew all male hats and put aside (not yet finished). Sew the apron skirt for female gnome aprons. Once the skirt panel has been sewn around the edges and gathered, they are put aside as not yet finished but need a different thread color in order to continue. make the red lips for Mrs Potato head.

White thread in the machine: make apron pockets and waist ties, add to aprons and put each aside as finished. Make all Pebbles and Bam Bam bones and put aside from the sewing table for stuffing. Sew the Beards and eye brows on all male gnome hats and put aside as finished. make all Mummy Wrap Dresses and put aside as finished in the sewing area-each one receives hand sewn detail  for the extra notions once finished with the main portion of sewing on the machine. Make the white mouth for Mr Potato Head and attach to the black mustache.

Light Blue thread in the machine and sew all Princess Danni parts of the dress that can be done on the machine and put aside from the sewing area for finishing touches.

Once I have finished these sewing steps above by thread color I take all that have been finished and I put in a pile to lint remove, trim the threads, and photo/ ship. Those items such as the Little Bones, Bats, and Bam Bam Hair Accessories and then finished I stuff and sew those up. I add the little bones to the Bam Bam costumes that need them and the Bone Hair Clips and Headbands are made and included. The bats are stuffed and included at this time as well. The Bam Bam costumes have the button sewn to the back of the costume as well and those are finished up. Mr and Mrs Potato Heads got hidden snaps added, and all other details needed were done at this time. Little gift bags with free lavender sachets were included in packages at the beginning of the Halloween Season but I was only able to offer those for 2-3 weeks running before I began to run out. 

The Princess Danni dress pieces that had been sewn earlier are then taken and dyed, and then once dry, the gold paint is added. As I have been working on the sewing projects I have also been busy working on the Princess Danni gold belt and shoulder bracers for the dress, as well as coloring the foam stone pieces for the front dangling design. These pieces take a while to dry-upwards of 24 hrs in dry weather-possibly 48 when it starts to rain out here in Portland. You are trying to paint foam pieces so you should expect them to take a bit of time to dry out. If you put a fan on them it helps ;)

Once the gold on the fabric has dried I sew the fabric pieces to the shoulder bracers, put the completed belt on the dress form by lacing it up and then add the attachments for the back cape to stay in place with the back dress panel. I put together any additional details such as putting together the sewing kits for this dress and lacing up the long hanging stone pieces at this time. Once this dress is on the dress form or mannequin and considered finished, the belt is removed and re-laced, wrapped in tissue paper including the long dangling stones, and included in the package separately from the dress itself. The shoulder bracers on the dress are also wrapped in tissue paper, as well as slipped in between the inside of the dress when folded up to keep the lining and outer fabrics wrapped well and organized when unwrapped by the customer. 

Halloween costume crazy huh?

*Rules to help you get by during Halloween season:
1) Try not to fall asleep @ the sewing machine/ computer/ in line at the post office/ at the fabric shops.
2) Lint remove myself prior to leaving the shop-always.
3) Vacuum fibers from lungs… (regularly)
4) Send emails, orders and list updates and shipping details daily via etsy, email, etc.
6) Sleep regularly because you don’t want to get sick before Halloween!
7) Cover up coffee and water before entering the shop as the fibers will fall in
8) Put scissors on tethers. Do not cut tethers.
9) Never forget to label cut materials with masking tape with sizes and check those sizes once finished.
10) Purchasing all materials ahead of time will be a saving grace-do it! Do it early!

And now that I have run through my Halloween details (good to remember for next year!), Thank you & Good Night! I am off to catch a ‘post-Halloween crafting frenzy’ nap before I work on my next blog post-which will be up tonight or tomorrow-and will be dedicated to decorating and last minute Halloween costumes and all things fabulous! So if you will excuse me, I have a nap and then some bats to hang in the front yard...

Until then, have a wicked day ;)


Monday, October 8, 2012

Game of Thrones Costume Remake; Making Princess Daenerys's Dress

Walking on Air

As I perused a lovely little article on the costume design process for the Game of Thrones series I found myself rather captivated by the long blue dress worn by Emilia Clarke in season II. The costumes made for the series are outstanding and I highly recommend reading the article in the link below if you find you are interested in learning more. You will find the link here >

The link above also provides an image of the original costume I was working off when attempting to make my own dress. You can also run an online image search and I am sure more original photos of Emilia Clarke donning the magnificent piece will be easily found.

The moment I saw this I had to try my hand at making one and it took weeks to find itself finally finished and ready for pictures but I did it and I couldn’t be happier with the finished costume. It’s not often that I spend weeks making something just to prove to myself whether I can or not but sometimes you simply can’t hold back the creative power and all in all it wasn’t too bad. Would I do it all again? Of course ;)

*This post is on the construction. For purchasing a gown please see this post for details  -> http://craftzies.blogspot.com/2014/09/in-quarth-state-of-mind.html

For any of you interested in making your own gown, the details below should prove useful.


White sheer crushed fabric (upholstery curtain fabric works great), White lining fabric (go with something that is not too see through but very light weight), White thread, blue thread *(optional), blue fabric dye, gold craft paint, suede cloth fabric, scissors, sewing machine, board or counter to lay out fabric for gold treatment, bucket, water and salt for dying the fabric, foam and various paints for the stone garland, area and or a box in order to spray paint the gold belt and shoulder blades, twine to bind the belt on the ends, string the stone garland and lace up the back of the belt.

I knew getting the right fabric was going to be critical. I went with the widest curtain fabric with that mashed in sort of texture to it and cut the pieces vertically down the center. Make yourself 4 of these panels with a length about 8" or so longer than the desired length of the dress. In order to determine the length measure 2" above the bust line and then down to the desired length. For the width on these pieces, the width of the front two pieces combined should be fairly equal to the width of the single back panel. I make mine so the front is a little bigger than the back so that the front has a bit more to cover the bodice area and so those side seams fall more in back, making for a slimmer gown on the sides. The width on the back cape panel should be the width of the persons shoulder blades plus an additional 2" seam allowance and around 3.5" additional for the drape of the cape. If you find the cape is a little too wide for the back then you will want to gather at the areas where the cape meets the shoulder brackets and then falls slightly in back. 

Sew each panel around the edges once, trim, sew once more and then sew the front panels together, leaving space for the opening at the bust. Do the same with the side panels, leaving openings for the arms as well. Pin the top of the front and back of the gown with a safety pin or two as this makes hanging the dress easier once removed from the dye lot.

Once you have gotten this far with the outer dress you are ready to dye the fabric. I dyed the fabric in a big bucket, and for the love of your hands, wear gloves so your hands aren’t bright blue for 3 days! It really helps you blend into society better. For the dye go with a bright blue (I think it was called China Blue fabric dye-it had a parasol on the front color @ Joanns-you’ll see it).  

While I had the fabric drying I began working on the gold braces for the shoulders and the belt. I decided to go with a suede cloth fabric for these pieces and after cutting out the pieces from the fabric I treated the pieces to three sprays of gold spray paint. It firms up the belt a bit but if you want to stiffen it up more and still keep the look then you can cut out a belt in the same shape of clear plastic, punch some hole punches in it and essentially lace the gold belt to a clear plastic belt underneath. When painting  the pieces make sure and move them around on the board a little bit between layers so the pieces don't stick to the paper or board you are drying them on. 

For the belt itself you are going to want to take one long strip of fabric for your belt and then two for your shoulder blade panels. Try to have the width on the belt and shoulder blades be somewhat similar in width  and cut out a ton of holes to resemble the belt in the photos. For the length on the belt, you are going to want to go with about 3" longer than the width of the persons waist. Once finished then fold back the ends of the belt about 4.5"-5" on each side and bind it vertically. You want it so your belt is a little smaller than your waist so you have the belt holding up the dress and the lacing cinching up the back nicely. 

Next up is the dress lining. You will go with two panels for the lining, a front and a back, and sew the sides and top of each panel once, trim, repeat the sewing and then sew up the front and sides as you did for the outer gown with the openings for the arms, and for the bodice cut down the middle a bit and sew the edges down. Once finishing the dress you will cut down and hand sew this area clean so sew down a bit but do not worry if it does not look perfect at this point. It will later on...

Here is a photos without the lining. The lining makes these a lot less see through than you see here.

Once the fabric has dried from the blue dye I lay it out on a big piece of styrafoam and dab the gold paint on the fabric.Add light gold dabs and you can add paper inside the you should find it won't go through too much. Once you have treated both the front of the gown and the the cape with the gold and it has dried, flip the gown over and add the gold treatment to the back of the gown.

Practice makes perfect though so make sure you test your gold imprint out on test fabric or paper first so you’re not adding too much and ruining your whole project. I have tried many different ways in which to get the gold on the fabric including sponge, paint brushes, etc. The thing I think works the best is simply a mashed up piece of paper. Mash it up, open it up, mash it up again, add a dab of paint out on your mixing pallet and test the print your paper mash makes on a small area of the foam board. Get the print decent where there is not too much paint and then start dabbing the fabric. Move it around a bit, move around the board and make those prints kind of random, add more paint, test, move the paper a bit and continue to add the paint. It looks good right? Let that dry and then repeat with the back side of the dress once it is dry on the front. 

Once your dress has been given the gold treatment and your belt and shoulder blades are ready to add then we are going to want to sew the gathered top seams of the front of the dress to the end of the shoulder bracers in front, then in back, and then add the cape. Then hand sew the dress and lining up. You will find those clean seams you originally added to the gown and lining come in handy at this point for a flawless hand sewing on the dress at this point. Sew down the bodice and down each side of each arm. Sew the lining in back and the dress neckline in back together as well. If you find the lining is too big then add a gather as needed to the lining as you sew.

Now put the belt on by lacing up the back. I like to lace it from the bottom up so when wearing the dress you can pull the tie and undo the belt yourself a little easier. Once you have determined where the belt is going to be, you’re going to take two small pieces of fabric about 2” in width and 4” in length and sew a segment attaching the cape to the back of the dress on each side, and you’re going to want those pieces added so you cannot see the stitching on the outside of the cape, but this creates a lovely look where by attaching the two the cape will only pull away from the dress itself slightly, offering a regal look and not causing your cape to take flight while the rest of you is still firmly planted on the ground ;) The only thing you want to keep in mind when adding the little cape segments is that you want to add those below where the bottom part of your belt ends, and make sure you add them in about 3-4” in from the outer seams. By stitching a bit of the lining in with the dress your cape will not pull the dress up. If you only sew the outer garment it seems to be too light weight and pulls the back of the dress up a bit.

The final step was adding the stone garland that fall down the front of the dress and I decided on painted foam pieces so as to keep them light. I originally also went with gold thread for stringing these but have since upgraded to a heavier gold twine so these are a bit more durable now. I cut two 1.5 yards of gold twine and take a hole punch and punch the hole in a small piece of foam and tie the foam to the bottom of the twine. Put a knot in the strand about 3-4" up from the foam piece and add another knot. Continue to string the strand but unlike the first time where you put a hole punch through the center, you will want to make small incisions in the foam pieces. The hole punch works for the bottom pieces but small straight incisions in the rest of the foam pieces helps keep the pieces in place and not fall past the knots you added along the way. 

If you find any stones do want to fall down past a knot them lay the strand out and add a little glue to the bottom side of the stone where it connects with the twine and let it dry. That should work perfectly if you run across any problems there. I haven't when making these yet but that is how I would fix it if that were to happen. You can also use fabric paints in place of glue. Just keep in mind foam really likes to soak up paint so these take a day or two to fully dry with each color treatment and the last thing you want to do is ruin the front of your dress with multicolored paint streaks. Trying to string wet foam pieces onto gold twine will also ruin the sheen of that lovely gold and makes a mess...just a mess! You can attach the top ends of your stone garland to the belt with the end of the material you used to string the stones or as I do for my customers, with earring hooks to hang the garland from the belt. I have found adding the earring hooks makes shipping easier. If Khaleesi wants to tie the stone garland to the belt once the package has arrived that is fine but at least I know it arrives safely.

I make this dress in all sizes. If you are interested in placing an order feel free to check out my Craftzies shop and if you are able to send the desired size and the persons average height that will help me a great deal in getting the perfect size. I have a few new photos to share with you soon. In the mean time, there are just a few minor (and all really good) changes to the dresses you receive when ordering and those are that the stone garland is a little bit more durable and made with a thin but heavier gold strand that the gold thread you see in the images here. Also, I have slimmed down the belts and shoulder blades as I felt the ones you see in the photos here are a little wider than they needed to be. I was also originally using a moda gauze for the lining (but somehow I went through 87 yards in the blink of an eye ;) but now I use a thin lining fabric, it is the lightest and least see through, and it is best described as something similar to a parachute fabric. It's not a stiff  itchy lining fabric, I think you will like it.

So there you have one fine crafting project that turned out well. I have been in the shop working on orders for these and new photos are coming soon. In the mean time have a great weekend, thanks so much for stopping by and if you have any questions feel free to ask!

Lindsay :)

Final crafting notes: A few quick notes on construction & materials used-I like to use the darker of the two Martha Stewart gold crafting paint and a gold metallic spray paint as I find they match really well. I like going with a tan suede cloth fabric for the belt as I find it blends in well as a background tone for the gold spray paint. I like going with the green foam as it is light weight and really holds it's shape, you can chop the pieces up small and add a lot of paint and they hold the different paint colors well. You should keep in mind though that white fabric paint isn't the best for the stones but other colors do work well such as blues, emerald greens and gold. White spray paint has been tested but unless it's a light gold dusting on the stones before being strung, spray paint doesn't take to the stones too well so I would say go with a white crafting paint for these. If you are using something like a poster paint, something that could easily run if wet, then spray the foam pieces with a clean spray paint to seal them up a bit. A clear spray paint will work as you;re not trying for color but sealing the colors a bit might help you out there. I do not use stones of gems because it is difficult to find pieces where the hole is wide enough to string the pieces through the gold twine I use but also narrow enough to stay up when I add a small knot below it to hold it up on the garland. With the foam pieces I avoid this hassle as I have tried hunting for materials that will work with little success. I do however really paint these pieces up with different colors so your stone garland is most certainly one of a kind and my Khaleesis have loved them so far so I think you will too once finished. For a final stone color treatment it seems as though a gold glitter fabric paint in the end looks great and once you have a bit of base coloring on the foam pieces the fabric paint seems to stand out a bit more.

New Photos here:

p.s. More custom listings are back in stock both on etsy and ebay. Here is a link if interested -> https://www.etsy.com/listing/126232097/game-of-thrones-themed-princess-daenerys?ref=shop_home_active

and one last thing here...

-> Adjusting your Khaleesi Gown-making adjustments to your khaleesi gown should not be too difficult and I am personally of the mindset that you can with the sewing kit that comes with your package, make your own needed adjustments. The truth is that as much as I try to make these gowns that I sell custom dresses, there is some customization required on your part once your gown arrives. All of the adjustments can be done with the needle and thread. For tightening up the bodice pinch the fabric 1/4" on the inside and sew up to where you want the opening to be. For the underarms do the same thing only you may find folding in and tucking back the top of the seam helpful in getting a more flat seamless look there. For the hemline, I aim for slightly longer as these can run short depending on your shape, how the shoulder blades rest on your shoulders, etc. You may find folding up and sewing under the bottom hem helpful as well.

Altering the belt I simple so please do not feel intimidated by this. I have tied off the belt lacing so it should be fairly easy to untie on the underside and pull out. You will pull out the lacing on each end and refold and bind as I did to the size you need. I have found that some like the belt ends to come closer together in back with the lacing and others like the lacing to be wider. With these things in mind I simply made this belt so that based on your preference, can adjust as you see fit.

Here are some very useful size conversion charts for US, UK, and EURO

and here is where I got that chart -> -> http://www.ebay.com/gds/Size-conversion-chart-for-US-UK-EUROPEAN-clothing-shoes/10000000002181633/g.html

Here is a link to the costume in my etsy shop -> https://www.etsy.com/listing/167992334/game-of-thrones-themed-princess-daenerys?ref=shop_home_active_5

*Depending on my work schedule throughout the year the construction time fluctuates between one to three weeks.