Friday, June 17, 2011

Can't leave well enough alone...

...when it comes to crafting. Nope, just not possible.

We decided to try dying the tan felt pork pie pirate hat I posted about with black hair dye! We convinced ourselves that the tan just wasn't an appealing color on us. But, after hindsight, I think I should have just wore it with my tan/blue tabistry corset and saved myself a whole lotta trouble. :)

Below is a pic just after the dying:

Don't get me wrong, I like it now much better than it started, but some ideas just don't turnout as you hope and can cause a mass of frustration. The dying worked alright, but I don't recommend it unless you're desperate. We only had one bottle of the hair dye and ran out on the inside. You can;t really tell in the pics, but since there wasn't enough to really get it soaked through, it has a kinda old faded brownish gray look to the top of it. It shrunk quite a bit too (as you can see in the before and after) while I was trying to rinse all the excess dye out. And on top of all that, it really smells bad. :) Not sure how long that will last, but I'm sure it will fade (along with the color) in time. :) The upside for the hat, though, is that the shrinking made the felt much stiffer and sturdier, now.

I continued fussing with this hat some more. I added some lace around the edge. I sewed it to the edge with a zigzag stitch in gold metallic thread.

The rooster pin was an after thought. I'm calling it a "cock"-ade. It was a pin we found a long time ago at the same flea market the hat was from. And, the hat pin sticking out the back of the second pic is another project we are currently working on.

We got the idea to make Victorian-style hat pins out of wire hangers and bits of stuff we have lying around. It has to be the thinner flimsy hangers. You don't want to put huge holes in your hat. But, you also don't want the pin to be so thin it becomes bendy and won't stick through the hat. I grinded the tips with the dremel. I should have polished off the yellow coating on the wire, but I kinda liked the gold-tone.

For my first attempt, I used some acrylic red beveled grapes my mom bought and some cheap beads. The second attempt, I used cheap artificial flower parts and a piratey button.

Still planning to make the dice beads I mentioned in my last post. Guess I have to go find my own dice. My daughter has some, but won't let me have one. ;(

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Clothes Pin People (with instructions)

The 8 year old daughter has been obsessed lately with trying to come up with things to sell to earn some extra money. She came up with these:

Clothes pin people. Aren't they adorably ingenious! They were a big hit with her friends, whom she gave her first ones away to before the school year ended. I didn't get a chance back then to get some pics. Now, she's made a new batch.

If you want to make your own, you will need:

- a clothes pin (for the body)
- scrap fabric (for hair and clothes)
- masking tape (for the head and to secure the hair)
- two twist ties (for arms)
- a permanent marker (for the face)

Here is what she does to assemble them:

1. She cuts a small piece of fabric about 1x2"; folded it in half and cuts slits to make hair. (We've found that if you use a knit like polar fleece or t-shirt, it will curl if you pull it gently.) She then pinches this between the clothes pin. She folds it until she gets it all to fit between the tips.

2. She wraps about a 2" piece of masking tape around the tip to secure the hair, making a flat surface to draw the face on.

3. She cuts another scrap of fabric of varying size to wrap around the middle of the pin just below the edge of the tape to form a dress. Using one twist tie in back and one in front about 1/4-1/2" down from the top edge of the fabric, she secures the fabric to the pin by twisting the ties on both sides to form each arm.

4. Lastly, she draws her face of choice. To her, it is of the utmost importance to wait to draw the face. This is so she can judge the personality of the individual people after they are fully dressed and make the perfect face for each character. :)

Hope you've enjoyed this little project. Being a tad biased, I'm totally impressed at her cleverness coming up with this. Makes a crafty mother proud. :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Meet the new sheriff in town

Yep, mom's working on a new steampunk costume for herself! Well, I mean she's got me working on one for her. ;)

Remember the felt hats we reworked a couple posts back? Well, we found another hat we couldn't pass up. We got the hat, a Styrofoam head and a hat box all for $5. I'm using the head to put my paper mache steampunk hat on so the brim won't get smushed and deformed. Ironically, the hat we bought is too wide for the box. Go fig. That's okay, though. I'm sure it will make a nice home for one of our many new hats.

Yay! I didn't forget the before shots! The pic above was after all the dust and everything was cleaned off. Honestly, I might not even have noticed the hat sitting in the corner of the shop covered with another pillbox style hat and a half inch layer of dust on top of it. After cleaning, the hat turned out pretty nice, but didn't do anything for either my mom or me. It just kinda hung limp and lifeless. I was planning to just trim the brim shorter and more contoured to make it a more hip twenties style hat. However, my mom loved the brown pork pie western hat we came up with last time so much, that she wanted a black one for her future gambler/sheriff outfit shes working on.

So into the sink it went to come out an extra wide brimmed pork pie like the brown one. I had to soak the hat in a mixture of one small bottle white school glue and water to stiffen it up more.

She found this sheriff badge at the flea market along with a "stinking badge" that I got to keep. (I couldn't resist. I just love movies like "Blazing Saddles".) The hat band was a belt we found at a secondhand store for 5o cents. I shortened it to fit, and we had some left over to make her an armband like the garters dealers wear to hold their sleeves up. The cards came from an old deck of cards I had that were getting marked by all the heavy use. (With no TV, cards are a popular family day activity in our house.) BTW, I used some of the lower cards of this same deck in my tablet weaving experiments a long time back.

We're currently planning some Victorian-style hat pins. Mom wants to have some with clear red dice on the tips. I think that will be a really cool idea. Now, just have to get it made. :)

Until next time!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Steampunk Cereal Box Hat

If you couldn't tell, I've been all about making hats this past month. First, I made another pirate hat with pop tabs. Then, we reworked felt hats. Now, I'm showing you a hat made from cereal boxes covered in paper mache and tissue. You should not be in want of inspiration for headwear on my blog.

I wore this hat to the last weekend of Scarborough Faire. There was some confusion as to the actual "Day of Wrong" traditionally held on Memorial Day weekend. We took advantage of this and chose to dress steampunk for Sunday. ;)

I was trying to urge my SO to make a prototype for his second leather hat (I will post this soon) out of cardboard, so he'd have a pattern to work from. But, as usual, he decided to just wing it. That got me thinking that I could just make a wearable hat with the cardboard. The hat went together fairly quickly. The toughest and most time consuming part was deciding on a color to paint it. :)

This hat is made from a large "family-size" Frosted Flakes cereal box. Never thought we'd finish that cereal, the box was so big. But, it was just the right size to make the brim in one piece. This was important to avoid having an unwanted crease in it. I chose to piece together the crown of the hat.

The ribbon hatband is the only part of this hat not made with the cardboard. It is really long in back. I think it's a nylon or polyester fabric used in sheer curtains. My mom had kept this large piece back from her bellydancing days in the 70's. I ripped off a narrow piece and hemmed it with the sewing machine. I got the idea from the hatband scarf Joanie Stubb's wore on her gray hat in the HBO series "Deadwood". However, mine hangs down to my calves. I should mention that this isn't very practical. Being so breezy at faire that day, I had to tuck the end into my belt to keep it from reaching out and strangling passersby.

It was SO's idea to make it slant down in the front. He also came up with the idea to make the fake hinges on top when I was inspired to create a trunk look with the keyholes. The brass nails are just paint. I can't count how many folk asked me if it opened. Sadly I had to reply that it didn't. Next time, I will make one that opens. I'm always for functional garb and perhaps some ventilation up there. :)

Hope you've enjoyed reading about my hats. You should have seen the photo shoot my mom and I had outside the other day. We hung a white sheet from a tree and I played musical hats. :) That's why we get occasional dappled light on the hats. I really have enjoyed making and wearing these hats. I'm tempted to just wear them everyday. It makes me surprised and saddened that traditional hat styles lost there fashion appeal for so long. I hope they make a permanent comeback in everyday wear.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Old Dusty Cowboy Hat Makeover

I stumbled upon the niftiest idea the other day on! What'cha think of our new future steampunk hat? It cost us about $2.50, since I bought two felt hats for $5 at a flea market.

The other day, I came across inspiration in a video of this guy making a felt cowboy hat into a "Buster Keaton" hat. (Yes, he says the name "Buster Keaton" an annoying number of times, at least 34 times, I think, during the tutorial) But, the idea is a fabulous way to revamp an old felt hat to give it new life.

BTW, don't ask me how I found this tutorial that inspired me. I frequently get sidetracked at that site spending time that I should be doing other things watching video after video about anything that pops up in the right sidebar. :)

This one started out as a sad looking dusty old typical cowboy hat made with beaver felt. An expensive hat in it's day, it was looking pretty pitiful. Living in Texas, we see these Stetson-style hats everywhere. (I wish I'd taken before pics.)

I had to remove the lining and sweatband, trim off the edging on the brim and clean it like the dickens. After that, we essentially made what is referred to as a "porkpie" hat, which got it's name from the top of the crown resembling (what else but) a pork pie, by soaking an existing hat in a sink and reforming it. If you rework a hat, you really don't need to fold the crown in like the pork pie as we did. Though, cowboy hats tend to be very tall on top making it a nice way to change the look. If we find other bargain felt hats, we may try some different style crowns.

I should mention that there was a tiny hole in the top of this one that I had to plug with a small piece of felt scrap I cut off of the brim. I basically needle-felted the hole until it was filled in adequately. Can't even tell there was a hole there! Gotta love felt. :)

How about a porkpie pirate hat?! Yeah, that's what the other ended up. It was a softer and floppier women's wool hat. We intended to starch it with the Keaton's sugar recipe. But after playing around, we rather liked the piratey look. Bet no one else at faire will have a pirate hat like this one. ;)

There's a little more info about the original recipe to remake a hat at the Buster Keaton Society page. It was really a quite simple and rewarding experience. If you try this, I'd love to see/hear your results.

When I get the chance, I'll be posting yet another hat, this time made with paper mache on cardboard. Until then, take care!