All posts by simplymelissy@gmail.com

Holiday Fairs!

Thanks to everyone who came out to the Zion Lutheran Holiday Fair yesterday! If you missed it, or just want to see me again, I’ll be at St. Rita’s on 11/21 from 11AM until 5pm.

If you’re not local, and are interested in buying some handmade items, you can do so on my new shop page! There you can buy Gingermelon dolls and their little suits! Of course, I’m always happy to accept custom orders for any doll, custom figurines, costumes and more.

Thanks for your support. Please share!

Now time to get back to stitching xx

Snow White and the Evil Queen

Halloween was a particularly exciting event for my student, Holly. She went out trick-or-treating dressed in a costume she made herself at 8 years old! I can no longer show off about making my own prom dress at 17. Nope, this kid got to WORK.

We had a pattern, of course. She couldn’t decide between Snow White or Cinderella. Tough decision, classics are solid choices, but the cape and fancy collar won out.

Rippin' stitches. It happens.
On that slip stitch game.
Look how neat that applique is! I didn't even help her with that.
Look how neat that applique is! I didn’t even help her with that. And don’t even get me started on those gathers!
To be fair, I did an awful lot of the pinning.
To be fair, I did an awful lot of the pinning.
When we finished the bow! She was especially curious as to how people get that perfect looking bow. It is a nifty trick!
When we finished the bow! She was especially curious as to how people get that perfect looking bow. It is a nifty trick!

Overall, it took us about 19 and a half hours to finish up this costume. I’m not sure who was more proud, her or me.

But then, a week before Halloween, Holly’s older sister decided that she needed to be the Evil Queen, because she’s got good taste in Disney villains & knows that it’s never not cool to go with theme costumes. So, I got to whip her up a costume because apparently they don’t exist in stores anyway.

SnowWhite3The cape was my favorite part to do. I love how shiny that material is. I used a “costume satin” (whatever that means, Joanns) for the black and broadcloth for the lining. I used a very stiff interfacing for the collar and attached it with velcro. Holly’s had a lighter interfacing so her collar falls back all sweet like, but I knew the Evil Queen needed it to be as evil as possible.

The dress was a toughie. I ended up using a basic floor-length dress pattern and adding sleeves. It was made for stretch knits but I ignored that and it came out pretty nice. I made the sleeve out of a pattern I had for something else, and just added extra fabric to make it as dramatic as possible.

So evil
So evil

SnowWhite1 SnowWhite

And here we are! They look beyond awesome, in my not so humble opinion.

Pajama Makin’

After my delightful failure making a pajama set, my students fared much better in making flannel pajamas.

We had four weeks 90-minute sessions to put together these pajamas. They all got to pick their color combinations from the cool flannels I found at Jo-Ann. We technically finished up last week, but tonight was the final make-up session for kids who didn’t finish in time.

I love the look of pride they all have after they finish! For most of them, this was their first project, and for them to be able to wear it more or less comfortably is pretty cool.

Students in a Barbie World

On Fridays, I teach back-to-back fashion design classes. It’s really fun coming up with activities and challenges for them to do, while also getting in my two-cents of fashion history that I love so much. So today we learned about Rococo fashion, with my second class getting REALLY enthusiastic about how exactly Marie Antoinette lost her head.

We only had 7 barbie dolls (well, 6 barbie dolls and one really creepy Hannah Montana doll), so some of my studnts worked in teams. Solo or team work though, they came up with some really cute rococo-inspired fashion for their dolls.

Jill
Jill
Shaylin
Shaylin
Valentina (I love the gold on this one!)
Valentina (I love the gold on this one!)
Leanna
Leanna
The Dynamic Duo, Melanie and Isabella
The Dynamic Duo, Melanie and Isabella
Busy bees
Busy bees
Lulu
Lulu

Rococo8

 

Next week, if all goes well (meaning that Joanns ships my order!) we’ll be making Halloween-print skirts! I’m excited.

Fair Season

Polka Dolly

It’s time to get ready for Holiday Fair season! I’ve done these in the past, selling American Girl doll clothes, but this year I’m introducing the Gingermelon dolly. This little lady is the first created. She’s a cutie šŸ™‚

I’m thinking of making different variety dolls (hair color and style, skin color), and have them all wear like the “basic” polka dot dress, and them make lots of cute clothes that can be bought desperately for the fashionistas in the room.

What else should I make?

Making it Just Fabulous

I bought a pair of hippie-esque wooden platform wedge shoes that are, in a word, gorgeous.

Like many stylish shoes that do not include the word “flat” in the title, these lovely shoes turned my feet into a nightmare of blisters on every. single. toe.

“Is this the end?” I thought, as I limped home after an evening in the city, bandaids hanging listlessly, having provided no relief to the sharp faux leather straps stabbing my toes, I believed I would never wear them again.

Hippie Shoes

Fast forward months later, I decided to wear them again, because, come on, they’re so cute.

Something had to be done, and as I sat in hopelessness, I thought of something. I have knowledge in the skill of textile arts. I know how to cut rectangles into useful shapes, and use a hot glue gun to top it off.

Want to make your cute shoes not torture you? Follow the steps I list below loosely, and maybe my magic will work for you. Maybe.

What you need:Ā 

  • Scraps of some soft fabric.Ā I used flannel left over from the Pajama Fiasco. It doesn’t really matter what color it is, since ideally it won’t show.
  • A marker
  • Hot glue gun (ideally with glue sticks to go with it)
  • A pair of shoes that you love that have hurt you in the past.
  • Scissors

What you do:

You probably remember exactly where it is that those shoes hurt you. The idea is to cushion those areas. These shoes were fine everywhere except in the front, so that is the spot I focused on.

Open wide

Open up the shoes, if possible. If not, work on the outside and then trim to fit later. You’ll need to do that anyway.

Using the marker, trace around the area you would like to be padded. It’s a bit awkward holding everything, but just try to get it as close as possible. It’s better for it to be too big than too small.

Trace 'emMatch 'em

At this point, I assume you had the foresight to plug in the hot glue gun at the beginning. If not, do that now.

Since hot glue dries super fast, and it would be preferable to not have dried up glue all over your shoes, make sure everything is ready. Match the piece to where it’s going to go, have the shoe positioned and ready to have fabric on it.

Glue around the perimeter of where your cushions are going to go, then place it on, and pat it firmly (better to not have it dry all round and then irritate your feet in all new ways). When all the pieces are in place, cut the extra flannel off, and voila!

Who said fashion is pain? Hah!

Shoes1 Shoes2

As you can see, the flannel is notĀ visible when being worn. After the night out, the flannel was pretty worn out, and burning or zigzag stitching the edges may help with that.

Another tip: if your heels are hurting your arch, tape your third and fourth toe together (yes, tape them). This take pressure off of your arch or something like that, and you will be less sore along with blister free!

What a time to be alive.

A Series of Unfortunate Events

There is no happiness in this installment of the Simply Melissy chronicles. There is misfortune in the beginning, dashed hopes in the middle, and, I am sorry to say, no happy ending.

If you choose to continue, you will have the misfortune of reading about a series of very unfortunate events relating to the tragic creation of a pajama shirt. ItĀ Reading on, you will come across such atrocities as upside down sewing machines, creepy crawlies, and single fold bias tape.

Though it is my solemn duty to record these events, there is nothing stopping you from closing your browser, and searchingĀ happier sections of the internet. If you choose to continue, you will likely be too distraught to do anything but stare at your wall, and sigh.

It began on a lovely summer day, when Melissa, who hates all things relating to the outdoors in the summer months, chose to stay inside and prepare for the coming colder months. She had purchased some yards of a lovely sewing machine print fabric, and looked forward to chilly nights wrapped in flannel.

Too cute for tragedy
Too cute for tragedy

She washed the fabric, hung it to dry, and cut out the pattern pieces. She unfolded the fabric, and began to prepare for cutting. As she carefully positioned the paper pieces onto the fabric, she realized there was no where near enough!

After a shock, she quickly recovered. “A pink yoke!” she said, happily, to no one in particular.

It didn’t end there.

As she struggled to find room for the sleeves, front and back, she realized she would need to flip the fabric. The sewing machines were upside down. Just like her happiness.

Being an eternal optimist, she cut and sewed. Roadblocks continued. After sewing the bias tape, she realized the yoke was somehow both upside and backwards.

So full of hope.
So full of hope.

No matter! She went to the store, bought some more fabric…

She forgot the cardinal rule of right sides together.
She forgot the cardinal rule of right sides together.

At this point, she wanted so scream and sigh, at the same time.

And she would. But not yet.

She ripped the stitches… and some fabric.

Sadness.
Sadness.

She tarried on, until the worst thing that could have possibly happened.

Alas, it is too ghastly to name. I will not terrify you with descriptions of its long, thin body, and hundreds upon hundreds of legs. This thing, this unmentionable, slithered out from beneath her fabric bin, and invaded her personal space.

Oh how she screamed. So loud that her father raced down to dispose of the beast. But it was too late. The damage was done.

There would be no more sewing that evening.

The next day, though scared, she decided to finish the pajama shirt once and for all. As she attached the sleeves, and trimmed some off of the sides.

This was her worst mistake yet.

After every stitch was finished, every seam ironed, she was excited, despite the tragedy that had just transpired.

But alas, it was too small.

And too big.

At the exact same time.

asoue1

The sleeves, too big, and where they may have been comfort and warmth in them, only ridicule appeared when torso, too, was much, much, too small.

It was folded neatly, after nearly losing her head trying to take it off, and placed atop a dresser.

And there it remains.

Bavarian Princess

faire1 faire2

After about two months of personal anticipation, I finally went to the Renaissance Faire in Tuxedo, NY wearing the costume I made!

Being the history nerd that I am, I couldn’t just be -generic Renaissance citizen- The original idea was to be a sort of barmaid, since I wanted a vest, but the gold over skirt and silky ribbon on the flower crown to me said “minor Bavarian princess,” just like Catherine II šŸ˜‰

We’ll just ignore the wild inaccuracy of a German princess hanging out with aĀ Scottish warrior.

Kilt Man and the Princess

I used Simplicity 3809, but mainly just for the vest and shirt. I had my own ideas for the skirt, that ended up taking half the amount of fabric called for, with just as much volume. I actually had a crinoline to go underneath, but it ended up being too uncomfortable because I got a tattoo on my leg the day before.

First, I made two skirts the same size as each other. I sewed the seams together on one side, and left them free on the other so I could get that sweeping motion. I basted vertically in 8″ intervals so I could play with the drape, and ended up sewing over only 4 of them.

My favorite technique!
My favorite technique!

Overall, I couldn’t be happier with the color scheme. I know it’s not quite autumn yet,Ā I was certainly dreaming about cooler months in this ensemble. My sister made the flower crown, and I couldn’t be happier with it. I also made the pouch out of scraps from the vest with a braided strap. I had no idea that pouches were such a Renn Faire thing but, well, happy coincidence!

Now, it’s time to start thinking about Halloween… and my sister’s comicon centaur costume. That’ll be something, alright.