Posts Tagged ‘crafting’

Renaissance Fair Season is upon us! I love spending a day out in the woods with the  fairies and jesters, celebrating the late summertime magic. The first Fair on my list is King Richard’s in Carver Mass, and to make sure I make the most of my Fair day, I am adding a few new pieces to my costume wardrobe. The most ornate of which is this handy little bag. This small glitzy purse was inspired by the Habib Bags offered by long-time fair vendor “Moresca.” Their work is beautiful, but hardly within budget when I can make some of the pieces, or something similar myself.


All of the fabric for this purse, the red tassels, black and gold trim, and the broach were all things that I already owned in my craft bins. The only things I had to buy new were the multi-colored loop trim and the very ornate gold curtain trim with tassels that you see running through the middle. However because I only needed a small cut of each, and could pattern the whole thing myself, this bag cost me under $10 to make! Not counting my time of course. It even has a lining.


I also recently made a new belt and mini-bodice which I wore to Connecticon. Made from green brocades and satins, with black and gold trim. Hand beaded and laced with black suede through brass grommets, this matching set is extremely versatile–especially the belt–because it is fully adjustable. I can wear it over leggings or a petticoat and two bustled skirts and it sits just fine.


To spice these two pieces up for the fair I added some black and gold chains to the belt and the bodice. I’m banking on warm weather for fair day so that I can wear these chains on an open midriff. I’ll wear a shawl if I have to but the chains do not look as nice over a chemise. Anyone have any other ideas on how to winterize this bodice? I have arm socks or I could always go full cloak, but I don’t really want to cover the whole costume up. Side note–I got these chains on ebay for wicked cheap and they’re REALLY nice. I think they’re aluminum. Very pliable and easy to work with, however they are a nice thick gauge and feel quite strong when tugged on! I’m more concerned about my stitches failing than I am the chains, which is more than I expected for such cheap ebay notions.


My favorite method of preparation for the fair involves spending more time outside. This is such a lovely time of year, and feeling a nice breeze on my skin every once and while keeps me motivated. The only other pieces of my costume that I want to update now, is to add a simple black fringe apron to sit under my fancy bag. I think it will frame it nicely and add an even more heavily layered look to my already voluminous skirts.  I’ll be sure to post more pictures when the whole outfit is done! Thanks for reading. 🙂

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This week I have added several new items to the Etsy shop, including three new, and very different bracers!

All hand-made and one-of-a-kind, these bracers are cut from the highest quality vegetable tanned leather. This study yet flexible material insures that these bracers will fit any arm (of the intended gender for which they were designed). Simply tighten the suede laces to fit.

Each bracer also features brass grommets and has been sealed with a waterproof acrylic varnish to improve its durability. Simply click on any of the images to be taken to the listing!

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This weekend I will be having a crafting marathon with friend and future business partner Kelley, as we prepare an inventory for the 2013 fair and convention scene. Our goal this year is to nab booths at up to eight conventions, craft fairs, or renaissance fairs selling our leather works, jewelry, and fantasy artwork.

Kelley and I are both working artists who also have a passion for crafting. As my frequent readers know, last year I taught myself how to work with leather as a medium to make jewelry, armor, and other costume accessories. This year, I plan to make enough pieces to rent tables at venues where my unique pastime accessories would e appreciated. For years, I have seen the same style wares and costume accessories sold at fair after fair after fair, and I want to bring the fantasy community some new options at prices that won’t break their costuming budgets.

My personal focus will be on finding ties between costume wear and everyday street fashion, and crafting a set of leather costume wear which can also be disguised as a statement accessory when paired with your everyday look. What Kelley will focus on is completely up to her whims but she is a whizz with beaded pieces and has expressed interest in a line of nifty bags.

We are already signed up to participate in Connecticon this July as well as a small convention called Queen City Kamikaze Con at the Manchester New Hampshire high school on February 16th. This small convention will be an opportunity for us to judge what items sell to what demographic, as well as provide an opportunity to practice booth design, set up and take down, and display rhythm. I have sold at many conventions in the past, but it has been a few years and I’m not used to setting up displays with a partner. So I think a refresher con is a good idea.

We are looking at several other fairs and conventions in New England right now in which we qualify to participate in, and I will announce them all here when we are signed up and confirmed. Thanks for reading!

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I just added a boat-load of new pictures to the crafts gallery at Shaunart.net.  In preparation for the fourth quarter (the holiday season, crafting season, and an artist’s most profitable time of the year), I have completed a big round of crafting, making fall accessories from vegetable tanned leather. There are some really cute Halloween items in there, as well as general fall and harvest themed designs.

Though most of my designs are small, I have started getting into some larger leather cuffs, bracers, and masks. These items will be available for sale at my Open Studio event, happening today and tomorrow from 11-5pm. Anything left over after the open house will be listed on Etsy. However, if an item that suites your fancy does sell, I would be happy to make you another. No two handmade leather products are exactly alike, but I can make it as close as humanly possible! So let me know if you would like to commission a custom item.

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My first sewing project of winter break was this adventure pouch iPad sleeve. I bought myself an iPad for my birthday, and though it was no problem finding a protective flip-cover thing, I was having a really hard time finding a sleeve for my iPad that I liked, could afford, and which would carry and organize more than just my iPad. So what do you do in these types of situations?? You make your own.

Choosing from a wide selection of scrap fabric left over from past sewing projects, I crafted myself a four-pocket sleeve that could hold my iPad in its flip-cover, my cell phone, a small notebook, and other small accessories like a microfiber cleaning cloth, business cards and pencils. I drafted my own pattern essentially directly onto the fabric using my iPad as a sort of stencil. The outside is vinyl: waterproof, and easily cleaned with a damp cloth. The inside is made of olive and red rectangles of cotton. The closure is made from a wooden button and a loop of vinyl which is fastened to the back of the case.

The whole case only took me about two hours to make. I think vinyl is a great fabric choice for projects like this because it doesn’t need to be hemmed. In fact, because vinyl is so thick, its almost impossible to hem. That saves a lot of time and frustration when working in small scale.

This pouch will be featured in my crafting gallery, and as always, you can view more of my work at http://shaunart.net


Thanks for reading!

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About a month ago, my mom and I went to go check out a new Thrift store in town. In a junk bin of miscellaneous jewelry parts, I found half of an old, fake watch. It was terribly dirty–black even. But it was interesting non-the-less. I asked if I could have it for 50 cents (normally items in that bin are $1) because it was only half of the item, and I couldn’t find the back. They said no, all items are as-is. Well I kind-of wanted this weird little clock, but I didn’t want to pay for a half that I wasn’t getting, so I continued to push around pieces until I found what looked like the backing to this watch. And, yay! The piece fit together. So I invested a dollar in this grimy little piece of garbage, and took it home to see if it couldn’t be fixed up.

I looked on the internet for how to clean fake gold, and found great advice from a video on Youtube, the URL for which is buried somewhere on my Twitter feed. The video said to scrub scrub scrub the item with toothpaste,  rinse and repeat. So I tried it, and it seemed to be working! I had to really lather the toothpaste on heavy, and I had to reapply it three times, but I could definitely see it working. After a good scrubbing, I took off the face of the clock (which is just a piece of shiny plastic) to remove the old glue with some nail-polish remover. Then I laid the face back on with some superglue.

Next, I needed a string for it, fortunately, I was able to find a black necklace cord on ebay for $0.01, free shipping. That’s right, I put together this necklace for $1.01 (not including taxt). Thank you China. I think it came out really cute.

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A lot of people have heard of the idea of using duct tape to make a dress form that perfectly matches the model’s shape. It involves wrapping the model tightly in duct tape, cutting him/her out and then stuffing this hollow shell with foam or newspaper or fiberfill.

I have also heard of using duct tape to draft patterns for close fitting garments such as bodices or corsets. What I wanted to know is, how would it look if I just made the whole corset out of duct tape!?

Corsets are feminine,

traditional, timeless, modern, risque, conservative, and fun! I really like them; I think they are absolutely gorgeous, and I’ve always wanted one made to fit me perfectly.

Corsets are expensive though, and even though they are made to make the waist smaller, I cannot find any small enough for my waist under $100 dollars. I don’t know about all the other college students out there, but I really don’t feel like I can afford to spend that  much money on a corset right now. I know that well made corsets will last for years and so it may be a good thing to invest in for the future–especially because I am so frequently in costume and corsets make great costume pieces, but right now I feel more like playing around a bit. Trying some inexpensive fashion corsets to see what I like. Frankly, I want a collection, but because every fashion corset under $40 is made for women with a 26″+ waist, I am out of luck. I need a smaller corset than I can find for the money that I am willing to spend.

Now of course the obvious solution to this for me, a costume-maker, would be to make my own corsets. But corsets, like tutus, take a lot of experience and a lot of time (sometimes a lot of money) just to make. Could I do it? Probably. Would it come out perfect the first time? No. I feel like I need a little practice first before jumping into making my own steel-boned-and-busked corset. I have made bodices that lace up like corsets. The only thing missing from them to make them real corsets is really the boning. The more I think about it, the more I think that I probably could make my own corset for real with fabric and steel and all that jazz. But that’s not the point of this post!

This post is about making a corset out of practically nothing. And for practically no money. Duct tape comes in lots of fancy colors and if you can find it in the right places, won’t cost very much for a 10 yard roll. By not very much, I mean $1 – $5 dollars. Not bad at all. Duct tape also involves no sewing. It’s more like sculpting, which, I am in the mood for right now.

My friend Anita in her duct-tape cosplay.Lots of people make garments out of duct-tape. I’m sure everyone has heard of the duct-tape prom dress. I have a friend who made a large portion of her cosplay out of duct tape. (Image to the right) And this was a rush job, but I think it came out pretty good. With a little more time spent, I bet I could get a pretty flat, nicely finished garment made almost entirely of duct tape.

This woman made a duct-tape corset –> http://jaggy732.blogspot.com/2007/11/duct-tape-corset.html

And she described her process: http://elainemiller.com/writing/sex-bdsm/2008/how-to-make-a-re-wearable-duct-tape-corset/

Here is a tutorial for it on ehow. http://www.ehow.com/how_5081665_make-duct-tape-corset.html

My plan is to, first of all, do this over the summer. I don’t have time this semester. But summer will bring me lots of free time! I will get a tight-fitting t-shirt that I do not care about, and I will wrap myself in duct-tape over this t-shirt. I will probably have a friend help me. I will wrap nice and tight, and as smooth as possible. Then i will have my friend cut me out, going straight up the spine. Then I will true trim a little extra off the back, round up my edges, straighten everything out and then cover this first wrapping with a finishing layer of colored tape and perhaps some decorative notions. Then I will punch holes along the back opening, and set some grommets in there and lace it up! Sounds pretty easy and quick. But what I hope will set this duct-tape creation apart, and make it worth wearing will be the decorative details. Hopefully, I can shape some really interesting stuff. Maybe mimicking lace or pin-stripes. Something to distract from the fact that this thing is made of tape.I may even put make-shift bones into the corset. I’ve read of people using plastic kitchenware, cutting it up into strips as boning. I’ve also heard of people using vinyl siding and oak tag. I’m not sure what I will be using just yet, but I’ll keep my eyes open. I guess for now, I will continue to look up styles of corsets to find something I want to make. 🙂

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