Karlene's Workshop

My sewing, refashioning and upcycling projects revealed
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Fairy style dress – Peach

  • 28/06/2011 10:58 am

This is another dress we used in a recent photo shoot, beautifully modeled by my lovely sister.

Peach dress

Peach dress

The skirt is made from vintage fabrics and lace. The larger pieces of fabric in the skirt are square shapes, with one corner rounded off in a similar way that circular skirts are cut. Putting many pieces together like this makes the skirt very full and swirly.

The bodice is made using fabric cut from another skirt I shortened.

Bodice

Bodice

Front and back has hand made fabric roses from from vintage fabrics, trimmed with ribbon, lace and vintage braid.

Dress back

Dress back

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Fairy style dress – Green

  • 23/06/2011 12:34 pm

Thanks to my husband Keith, I got some lovely shots of the finished fairy style dresses I made.

Green fairy dress

Green fairy dress

This one I am wearing is the one I wrote about in my last post , made from denim scrap from some jeans and other bits and pieces. It took me a long time to finish, as I got quite frustrated with the whole thing a few times, then it finally came together the way I wanted.

Front detail

Front detail

The skirt is made up of different layers using strips of tricot and tulle on the bottom, some tea dyed broderie anglaise cotton from an old skirt, strips of vintage spotted net and some ripped up pieces of an old blouse, and then the patchwork bustle layer on top. The bodice is cut from the bottom half of a pair of jeans (the top got made into a skirt) with patchy bits here and there, and mock lace-up inserts on the front.

Green dress, full length

I have more close-up pics of the details in my last post, and of the bodice and construction of the first layer here.

Coming soon, pictures of the other dress.

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Green denim dress, almost complete

  • 21/09/2010 1:53 pm

The dress, as is, on my dress stand.

A bit lopsided but there is a reason as you will see…

I’m pleased with how this is turning out, there is just one little thing I have to change, the top part of the “petticoat” lining layer is sitting too high. It’s kind of hard to tell on her, but on my body it looks a little weird and needs to be lowered a bit.

I’m either going to pull all the lace off the top and cut away the excess fabric, or pin and pinch it down like this and hand stitch the folds.

It was err, interesting sewing the bustle layer. When I first started I had a rough Idea of what I wanted it to look like but was getting very frustrated when it wasn’t happening. I spend a long time (and I mean LONG, like days and days) thinking about how all the edges were going to be finished, how it was all going to be joined together, and how I could get lots of random scrappy bits sewn on in the right place until I felt like pulling my hair out!
I cut out the rough shape in the same cotton as the skirt base and added the ruffle around the edge with the dark green rick-rack trim, then decided I was just over thinking the whole thing and needed to let go and just sew sew sew. So… I grabbed some fabric scrap I liked, plonked it on, grabbed a bit of ribbon, slid them all into the sewing machine in a haphazard fashion and stitched away, and hey presto it worked!

I continued in this way until the the bustle piece was covered and looking just how i wanted it.

The pieces that I melted were used here under the bustle layer to add more texture and ruffly bits to the skirt.

Finishing the back was also giving me a bit of headache, this is how it turned out,

I made the zip visible as a design feature and added some fancy machine stitching along the edge. Have decided that the uneven height on the bodice panels and lace at top is also a “design feature” :-)

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Green denim dress, a work-in-progress

  • 06/09/2010 2:40 pm

Remember this green jeans skirt I made? I’m using the cut off pant legs to make a bodice for a patchy fairy style dress.
Here’s a look at the front part of the bodice before being completely sewn up.

You can see I’ve used the unpicked hem at the top of one panel for a bit of added textural detail and I’ve added some patchwork applique and lace.

The skirt base is cut from an old cotton sheet with randomly sized triangular strips of tricot attached to the bottom. I’m planning to have lots of layers and scrappy bits over the top. The bottom edge is shaped so that it will be a bit shorter at the front.

The dress lining is made from the same green tricot, the elastic straps are from a bra that I didn’t fit properly :-)

Now I’m building up the layers, firstly with some gathered tulle,

then with broderie anglaise from my tea dyed skirt, I cut it off just under the pockets and shaped it slightly to fit the shape of the skirt base.

Currently going well and progressing as planned, hooray!

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A glimpse of my work-in-progress

  • 08/07/2010 6:07 pm

This is something I have been working on for a while now. Almost done, just got to do a few more fabric roses.

The peach fabric used in the photo above are the leftover pieces from the skirt I shortened here.

It’s turned out very differently from my original idea but still very pretty all the same. Can you guess what it is?

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At last – pictures of the fairy princesses

  • 13/04/2010 3:54 pm

Remember all those frilly girly things I made for my nieces for Christmas? Well, I finally got some pictures of them all wearing the outfits. At Easter! The sun was very bright which is why some of the expressions are not very fairy princess like :-)

Here is Alyssa who is wearing a beaded necklace I made for her a few years ago and had completely forgotten about:

Next Rylee, squinting very badly, she was having a good time, honest!

And lastly Briana. Her bag is from an op shop, I re-covered the back. I love the fact that she is wearing tattoos on her arms LOL, drawn on by her dad.

The tops they are wearing are all bought from op shops and inspired the rest of the outfits. Alyssa’s one is a bit see through so she is wearing a T-shirt underneath with a butterfly print. Pretty!

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Fairy skirts made by Cathy

  • 06/04/2010 3:44 pm

I had some comments recently from Cathy McGregor from Napier who sent me some lovely pictures of the fairy skirts she has made for her granddaughters from old scarves.

2010-cathy's-scarf-skirts
2010-cathy's-scarf-skirts2
2010-cathy's-scarf-skirts3

The gold coloured organza fabric which is used in both skirts is from a wrap/stole she made for a wedding, and the spotted lemon scarf was her mothers.
The pale blue narrow strips with sequins added to the ends, is from a scarf/large bow previously attached to a 1950’s hat of her aunts.

As well as scarves, she is also using her collection of sarongs to make the skirts. Thanks for sharing these cool ideas Cathy, I will be looking out for scarves and things from op shops myself in future!

Some more tips from Cathy:
Firmly tack the inner circle (waist) before cutting around the template when using slippery fabrics.
Use bias cut strips to make the casing.

Have a look at my fairy skirt tutorial for more details on how to make this style of skirt.

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Super Hero costumes for the boys

  • 11/01/2010 1:01 pm

I made my boys some fun costumes for Christmas.

The black cape is made from a couple of panels taken from an old circular skirt, already hemmed so it was very quick.

I cut an extra strip strip to make the tie.

For super heroes I made an orange cape and mask. The fabric is from a thrifted bed valance. I unpicked the ruffled side bits and was left with a rectangle shape with a hem on one edge (yay!) so all I had to do for the cape was hem the sides, gather the neck and add a ribbon tie.


The mask was a little trickier :-) I acquired some foam shapes (can’t remember where from) that looked like a mask shape, so I trimmed one little, added some holes for eyes and covered it with some of the orange fabric. All hand stitched, very couture!

For fabric for the wizard cape and hat I used a large thrifted sheet. I folded the sheet in half, then folded on the diagonal, to help me measure out a 1/2 circular shape.

I then cut off the pointy end to make the neck about 50cm in total – folded up it was about 11cm across the curve.

Having the sides of the sheet gave me two nicely hemmed edges, (double yay!) so all I needed to do was hem the bottom, then add the ribbon tie to the top.


For the hat I used some cardboard to make a hat base, and cut out the same shape in the fabric and some thin batting, with a bit extra around the sides to overlap.

I then appliqued some star shapes on the hat fabric before covering the cardboard, and to the top and bottom of the cape. For more detail on how I did the applique, I have written a tutorial here.


They had lots of fun dressing up with their friends.

This was so funny. Jordan is trying to have his moment, but Ewan steals the scene showing off his new watch, he is very proud of it!

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Beaded fairy princess tiara

  • 02/01/2010 4:13 pm

Here it is at long last, the fairy princess tiara I made for my niece Rylee. This is the very last item to be made for the whole fairy princess costume saga. I couldn’t believe how long it took me to finish this one, it’s been a work in progress for quite a while.

I started off with headband with holes, for the base. It was originally attached to an angel halo that had holes in the headband for the springs holding the halo up, now sadly destroyed for my art, Ah ha ha ha ha…
I got some wire that was thick and sturdy, but light, and threaded it through the head band holes, bending it into a tiara shape.

I recycled some glass beads from a broken necklace to thread onto some fine beading wire and wind around the thicker wire.

The beads are a burgundy/pink colour on one side and green on the other. I used the same colours in the coordinating ruffle wrap that will be part of Rylee’s costume. (I can use their names now, as it is after Christmas, and they have all received their gifts!)
I have also used some old pearl beads of random size and colour, kept by my Nana in her bits and pieces collection, and a few green and dark pink faceted beads on the peaks.

Lastly I covered the band with a bit of wadding and some fabric left over from the wrap and skirt to hide all the wire ends.

Here I am wearing it, as I haven’t got a photo of it on Rylee just yet. She did like it though, the first thing she said when she opened the gift was, “look, I got a crown!”.

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Fairy flower circlet and headband

  • 29/12/2009 11:19 am

I’m still here, still sewing just slowed down a bit over Christmas.

This is the flower circlet headdress I made for one of my nieces, to go with the pink ruffled skirt.

I started off with a wire base and covered it with some ribbon (glued on) leaving a trail of ribbon on each end to tie on her head.

I made some tulle roses from scrap left over from the skirt and glued these on the base, then pulled apart some artificial silk flowers and glued the petals in the gaps.

Here I am trying to model it while taking a photo!

I also made a headband for her to wear when a dress-up one would be inappropriate, like school. I used a plain plastic band from the $2 shop and glued on a pink ribbon, then a tulle flower and yo-yo made from the skirt fabric. The ribbon is a little crooked as you can see, next time I think I’ll wrap the ribbon around the band rather than try to get it straight!

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