Thursday, 27 September 2012

T-shirt Reconstructions

I've been reconstructing my own T-shirts for quite a while now and friends keep handing me a pair of scissors to alter something for them or ask how it's done.  I've had several people nagging me to start selling my reconstructed shirts too, but that's a bit scary so I've not tried that.  I started off attacking shirts to make the over-sized ones fit me, and then realised how much I hated the standard T-shirt shape and now buy everything a size or two larger and alter them.

I have finally written down some proper instructions to explain the process.  The main instructions show how to make my default style which has gathered sleeves that sit on the shoulder and knitted sides that bring the shirt in at the waistline in gathers and drape fabric across the tummy and derriere.

I've included loads of variations at the end so that you can do different sleeves or give the shirt an empire line waist.

It's quite an easy process, requires no sewing and I can make one over a few cups of tea or while watching a film in the evening.  I'd recommend trying it out on an old shirt you don't like to get the hang of it.  Your work will get neater and much quicker once you've tried the first one.

If you're doing my default version and it doesn't look quite right when you've finished, you can always unfasten and re-tighten the shoulders, and unfasten and re-knit the sides (even cutting larger sections before re-knitting if you didn't take it in enough).  The finished version should automatically come in at the waist when laid flat.

PDF instructions

The witch is my own graphic design but it's up on redbubble if anyone wants it.

Friday, 24 August 2012

More charts

Just a post where I'm going to store more of the charts I've designed (as inspired by the ones at Textile Transfigurations).  I'm making them to go with the charts I'm using from there so they'll be designed in the same size.

I'm using them to crocket into cushions or blanket squares, and I've already got a small backlog of requests.  If you want to learn how to do crochet portraits, I'd suggest checking out Lee's Site.

To download full size, right click, "Save Target As...".

To start with here's David Tennant as Barty Crouch Jnr.

The dark blue squares have been used to represent black so that you can still see the grid and count squares more accurately.

To use it for cross-stitch, just remove the border and background.

If you are on Ravelry and make use of any of these charts, please link up to the project on there so I can see your results. :)

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Slytherin Crest Project

I'm not very well at the moment so I'm spending the Summer stuck indoors indulging in some favourite childhood crafts.

While making film character portraits in crochet (they'll end up as cushions, a blanket or attached to some sort of furniture by my upholstery genius mother) I found myself in need of a Slytherin Crest in the same size, so here it is (right click, Save Target As... to download full size version).

The chart is exactly the same size as the Severus and Lucius squares I'm making (as designed by Textile Transfigurations) so I'm assuming that all of the other character squares are this size too. It uses four colours instead of five as the crest looked better without the white. I've made the black appear as a dark grey in the image so that it's easy to count squares (something I struggle to do on the Textile Transfigurations versions so I end up drawing white lines on the black sections before printing out).

Most people have been knitting the Textile Transfigurations squares but I wanted to crochet mine.  It's *really* easy and if you've never tried it before, there's a lovely Fibre Artist called lee who has done a crochet-along set of videos here.  It seems that most  of the crochet portrait makers like to use read-along charts but I prefer an image chart so I can see where I am easily, know what it's going to turn out like and can spot any mistakes early enough to correct them.  Lee has some lovely Harry Potter charts too if you prefer read-along charts, and there's a Slytherin crest on there (but just not the size I was wanting).

I've mapped out the banner separately in case anyone wants to use that for something (right click, Save Target As... to download full size version).

For those who prefer cross stitch or tapestry, here it is in a cross stitch chart format.

The colours I've suggested should turn out like this


I've approximated the number of stitches and recommend comparing them to Kathleen Dyer's chart so that you can work out how much floss you need for the project.

If you are on Ravelry and make use of any of these charts, please link up to the project on there so I can see your results.  :)

Saturday, 24 March 2012

The Carol-Anne Martin Photostory

There seems to have been a lot of confusion and curiosity going around among some Whofans relating to a selection of John Entwistle photographs featuring a little known young lady.

As much as it would amuse John that I'm defending his honour I do perhaps owe him a little for somewhat defending mine in the past, so let's clear this situation up. ...admittedly I'm doing this more for the lovely Alison Entwistle than John.

All of the following images were taken on Thursday 2nd March 1967 and star Who fan Carol-Anne Martin spending a day with her idol, John Entwistle, and accompanying him to the Marquee Club that evening where The Who's performance would be filmed for Beat Club.
I don't know whether the girl was a true Who fan who had won the day in a competition, whether it was a publicity excercise or whether it was a photo op set up with a model. What I am certain about is that three months after these photos were taken John married his childhood sweetheart Alison Wise whom he had met and school and had been dating steadily since 1962. Alison had been dutifully attending John's gigs since he was in The Detours, so she wasn't exactly going to miss any girls hanging around him at gigs in London several years later. These photos were posed for fan magazines, and John wasn't stupidly going to suggest a secret girlfriend for the photo shoot either (that honour goes to Paul McCartney, maybe I'll explain about that another time).It's worth noting that the carpet and wallpaper in the bedroom photos match those in the picture of Carol-Anne sat on her sofa in front of a wall full of Who pictures. Whether those who read magazines in the 60s actually beileved that a photographer could sneak a girl into John's bedroom to wake him up without him noticing is unknown. ;)The following two photos were taken by Ray Stevenson who covered the Beat Club recording. All of the other images were taken by David Magnus.

If anyone else has any additional information or more photos from the shoot, please contact me and I'll update this to share with everyone else out there. All images and footage remains the property of their original creators and are reproduced here for educational puroses (setting a bit of pop history straight).

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Fashion Art - Westwood Rubens and Giles Delaroche

To me, fashion is an art form but I especially love it when a work of art is used to create something wearable and beautiful. There are two that have particularly caught my eye lately because they're my kind of clothes featuring my kind of art.

As expected, one is by Vivienne Westwood who has a habit of using beautiful art from the past in her designs.

Friday Rubens Print Dress
£508 at

Twister Elephant Rubens Print Dress
£316 at

Castor and Pollux Abduct the Daughters of Leukyppos - Peter Paul Rubens

The other is by Giles Deacon who wins bonus points for using a portrayal of my favourite historical period - Tudor England.

Giles printed T-shirt of Lady Jane Grey
£359 at

The Execution of Lady Jane Grey - Paul Delaroche

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Almodovar - The Return!

If you've read my blog for a while you'll already have read Seeking Pleasure Purely For Thrill in which I thoroughly worship the wonder and genius of creativity that is Rachel Fuller.

Blissfully she has released to the world a new project! I'm already delighting in the dark intricate lyrics and spanish guitar.

Structured very much like her Kew project she's given herself the task of 6 days, 6 films, 6 songs to set Spanish director Pedro Almodovar's films to music.

So stop reading my words and peruse the Almodovar project.

Discover thrill and enjoy:


Monday, 21 February 2011

Avarice In Westwoodland

Dame Vivienne has graced London Fashion Week with another catwalk full of new creations for her Red Label collection, and therefore I must make my new list of items to covet.

In the past I've been so breathtaken by a suit on display in Westwood that my friends had to take me outside for air before I passed out. Seriously. The mixture of art, fashion, decadence, craftsmanship and beauty overwhelmed me. ...they took me into Harvey Nics to laugh at the Juicy Couture section which quickly brought me back down to earth with a bump. Despite my love of pink, sparkly things and embelishments, JC's pepto bismol velour tracksuits embelished to high heaven make me nauseous. Or overcome with laughter. Luckily the staff in Harvey Nics found our about-turn disgust at one item on display hilarious too.

Anyway, back to Vivienne. If there is one outfit designed to cause similar knee weakening, breath stealing effects it's this black velvet suit:
At the sight of it among the catwalk pictures I felt a brief stab of pain combined with deep earth shattering adoration. Such a similar feeling to that of unrequited love that I'm now seriously wondering if I'm designed more for fashion than relationships. Anyway, I want it. I would wear it until large patches of velvet had worn away on it. And then I'd wear it some more. Vivienne would be cool with that, she's always going on about clothes being better when they're truly worn in and worn out. I love the thick lushness of the velvet, the way it flicks out where the side vent meets the cuff, and the perfection of the ankles. I want it badly. I would read poetry in it whilst lent against trees.

Next on the lust list is a frendsy of excitement over several details. First being the fabulousness of the fabric in this skirt. Then the quirkiness of the double buckle belt which is then connected to braces which fasten top and bottom at the back so that they grace merely your shoulders at the front. And the placing of the ruffle on that blouse is utter perfection. But mainly I crave one of those belts. I pray that the goddess Vivienne will supply them in a vegetarian friendly substance.
Now one of the many "that woman is a genius!" moments. I love pendants, I love charm bracelets. I tend to wear too many pendants on a necklace so that they all cluster together and keep toying with ideas to convert them into some kind of neck version of a charm bracelet. Well, she's done it. Hurrah! I've been admiring a few of these stamp pendants in her shops for a while now and find this way of displaying them perfect. I don't know if this comes as a whole piece or not, but I love the idea of constructing my own. Bravo Vivienne!
More little details. I have found the unusual construction on these trousers deeply wonderful and am hoping they will work with my body shape. Detailing around this area doesn't usually work due to the difference between my wide hips and much smaller waistline, but Dame Viv hasn't let me down yet so we shall see. Also loving the frayed style edging on these belts.Cinched in high wasited trousers are deffinately something my figure was created for. Therefore I love these gorgeous pin striped trousers. And what is there not to desire about the blouse fabric?! More high waist cinching with the first skirt on this list. No-one could realise just how much I longed to wear pencil skirts before I discovered the wonder of Vivienne's cut. I now have a few of them which make me feel elegant and curvy all at the same time. Wide hips and a bottom that resembles a bustle made everything pre-Westwood turn me into the animated character Jessica Rabbit. Which may seem wonderful, but it made me overly self conscious and had me living permanently in a-line skirts and mini kilts for years. ...which means that not only do I crave the perfection of the first skirt, but I also want the a-line velvet and giant ribbon confection. And it's about time I had a proper flirty Westwood kilt seeing as I've been wearing inferior versions since my early teens. Unfortunately I always end up spending my money on something else when I venture into her shops.
I'm also fasninated by the open fastening detail of the skirt in the bottom corner, and utterly delighted by the bold stripes and fancy back of the second skirt. But if I could only have one out of all of them, it'd still be that first high waisted pencil skirt.

The next three are very easy to explain. I love pink and black as a combination and I spent my 1980s childhood in an array of trouser suits imagining being the next female prime minister or some other such power dressing female... but obviously one who's a bit mental and flamboyant. ;) I love the shape of the gold dress but know the colour would do me few favours and I'm not sure what the cut would do either. But it's lovely to look at. The third one seems to be an all in one cross between a catsuit and a beautiful pin stiped mens suit. It's fabulous, it's beautifully made, it's entirely crazy while not overly eye catching to walk past on the street - I want it!
More little details before I finish. I don't usually crave Vivienne's adventures in socks. They're a little too crazy even for me. But these are too much like historical ladies stockings for me not to be fascinated. Goodness knows what you could wear them with that didn't make you look like a frump or a lunatic though. Maybe I'll work it out while I'm still vaguely yung enough to wear them.
The fabric in the centre of the picture is wonderful, the way it combines an old style fabric print with maunscript style wording through the background. Can't wait to see what items it appears on. Thirdly, the coat. I think it's a coat, or maybe a long jacket. I can't see it very well, but the fabric and the cut already look marvelous as it flows behind the model. It's going to be so cravable and the sort of thing that you wear to death, I just know it.

And finally, I noticed some Westwood style customisation of the Red Nose Day t-shirts under one suit on the catwalk. I've ordered mine and am therefore awaiting the arrival of a naughty Marie Antoinette styled lady, an Elizabethan Queenie and Edmund Blackadder in a ruff. As soon as I saw the shirts they cried out for customisation. I think she's designed them like that on purpose. Or am I just too addicted to attacking t-shirts with a pair of scissors? Can't decide what exactly I'll do to them until they arrive, but maybe I'll post the results on here.
I recommend grabbing one of your own and finding ways to make it more decadent and self expressive. Something like this perhaps: