The Wedding Dress – Continued

My wedding dress started off life as the wedding dress my Grandmother wore to her wedding in 1954 to my Grandfather. It was then worn by her sister, Joyce. By the time it came into my possession, it had spent many years in storage, was full of holes and had little yellow spots all over it.

I wrote a little about starting my dress here.

I chose the song “Shut up and dance with me” by Walk the Moon, to walk down the aisle to pretty early on in wedding planning. I took inspiration from the lyrics “a backless dress and some beat up sneaks” and went searching for a pattern that was tea length and backless!

After scouring pattern books for a suitable dress pattern that fit all my requirements, I settled on Simplicity 8289.

I used Simplicity pattern 8289 to make my dress

I made a tester dress from lace and satin I bought off the discount table at Spotlight. I shortened the length of the shorter dress pattern by 6 inches. This was a great length for a party dress, but maybe a little too short for a wedding dress! I made the wedding dress three inches shorter than the pattern, which was perfect!

The test dress! And a test set up of our glasses display! And a hair/makeup test too!! A day of “tests”!

Once I started working with Grandmas dress, it quickly became apparent that the lace was extremely delicate and would need some support. I decided to sew each piece of lace to a piece of tulle. I used seed beads, Swarovski crystals and seed pearls to stitch the two layers together.

Before cutting into the lace, I cut the pattern from the tulle and basted this to the lace, then cut around this.
To be able to cut the entire skirt from the lace of grandmas dress, I had to make the front panel into three sections, this meant I wouldn’t have a seam down the middle of the front of the dress.
Seed beads, Swarovski crystals and seed pearls have been stitched to hold a layer of lace to a layer of tulle. Photo credit Studio Vita

The pattern sewed up relatively easy once I had beaded all the pieces. I did struggle with were the facings meet at the front, and ended up having mum hand sew them into place, which did the job.

Sewing in the zipper. I really need to get an invisible zipper foot if I even need to do this again!

I even managed to salvage two button loops from the cuffs off Grandmas dress and use them as the closure on the neck of my dress, with some of Mums pearl shell buttons!

The dress has three layers. The outer layer is lace from Grandmas dress, sewn to tulle. The middle layer is silk, sourced from op shops, the bodice has silk dupion to give it a bit of structure, whilst the skirt is a very light weight silk. The lining is cotton voile.

Photo credit Studio Vita
The front of the dress
Photo credit Studio Vita.
The back of the dress
Photo credit Studio Vita

I absolutely LOVED have a circle skirt, especially since our first dance was swing! I wore a rainbow petticoat underneath, and I was just like a little kid, showing off how high I could make my skirt twirl!

Photo credit Studio Vita
Photo credit Studio Vita

It was important to me to make my own dress. It was an absolute honor to be able to re-purpose my Grandmas dress. And I hope that this dress will be continued again, maybe my children or niece will re-purpose it? I hope this story isn’t finished! I hope this story will continue writing itself!

I have to add, I never completely finished the dress. There was some beading around seams that I just never got to. But it kinda felt like one of those structures, that if it was ever truly finished, it would cause some kind of apocalypse! haha.

LOVE

The LOVE sign was my favorite piece I made for our wedding. (and I made a LOT of stuff!) I’ve shown you bits and pieces of it over the last few months, but I think it deserves its very own post 🙂

It stands approximately 1.2m high, and spans ~4m depending on how much you space it out.

I started by finding, downloading and installing a font that I liked. I went for a circus style font, which gave me a lot to work with. I used Adobe Illustrator to lay out my letters, as this allows me to set the size and tile it ready for printing.

Then I scoped out Bunnings (yep, most of our paychecks go to them!) for suitable wood to make it from. I found a large piece of ply wood approx 1.2m by 2.5m by 12mm and bought that. I used the dimensions of the wood to determine the size of the letters. I quickly realized that I wanted my sign to be bigger than one piece of ply would allow, so I got a second piece and scaled my letters even bigger. I was able to cut two letters from each piece, with small amounts left over which Guy used for other projects.

Once I had my letters the size I wanted, I headed to office works and printed them off on A3 paper. Once back at home, I taped all the pieces together, then cut out each letter. This became my template to trace onto the wood.

I printed the letters at Officeworks on A3 paper and then taped them together to make a template.

Tracing the letters onto the wood

I got a new jigsaw just so I could cut these out! Hadn’t used one in years, and I learnt a few things along the way… like be careful of whats underneath… you don’t really want to cut into the table!

Using the jigsaw to cut the letters out

Once I had all the pieces cut, I put on Netflix and plonked myself down on the lounge with some sand paper and went to town on the edges until they were nice and smooth. Probably not the best idea if you like your couch, but ours is horrid and desperately needs replacing, so whats a little saw dust to add to the mix of unknown grossness.

Sanding the letters in the lounge room!

They went into the garage for a few months after that. We pulled them out again a few weeks before the wedding to finish off.

Guy added H frames to the back. He added holes so we could peg them down (luckily as the day was terribly windy and they would have blown over otherwise)

H frame on the back makes it stand

When painting them, I started with a base coat of white (thank you leftover house paint!)

White under coat

I printed off small copies of the letters and tested colour combinations. Armed with a plan, I set about painting the letters in pretty colours! All the paints we had left over from other projects. The white was what the builders left after the house was painted, the lime green is the colour of Guys study and the other colours we bought when we refurbished chairs for the alfesco. I finished painting the letters two days before the wedding!

Testing colour combinations for the letters before painting the real thing.

Painting the letters

It looked amazing on the day. And lots of people took photos standing with it. A certain cheeky monkey loved to sneak into the photos as well!

It looked amazing on the day! Even (especially?) with a cheeky monkey hiding in there 🙂

Unfortunately me and Guy never got a photo with it 🙁 The closets I have is these photos before it was finished, and a selfie I took the day after.

Guy with the sign before I had painted most of it

We were just seeing the size. It was exactly what I had imagined!

I made a “Selfie game” for people to play throughout the day. I completed mine the day after. This was me with “lots of LOVE”

We put it up for sale, as we did with a lot of the wedding stuff, but no takers yet. We were told by one of our friends that under no circumstances are we to sell it. So I guess it goes into the garage for the time being. Could be cool to have a family photo with when (if) we ever have children.

Have a creative week!

<3 Cate

Married!

I got married on Saturday…

I was in front of the camera most of the time….

And the professional photos are still to come…

So i’ll leave you with these, taken by friends and family…

Photo by Sue-Ellen. Finally make it down the aisle! The wind wreaked havoc with all decorating plans, luckily we bought 5m of each colour of party satin the day before, and this was draped and tied to the arch.

Just married! I hired a beetle, (thanks Erina!) for the day, and drove around town for some photos. Twas lots of fun!

Photo by Regina. Our cake was seriously amazing! Sugar flowers on top with a water colour effect on the bottom layer of icing! Cake by Lavender and Lace.

Photo by Regina. Our first dance was awesome. We did many lessons with Lachlan at Danzon. It was mostly swing, with a little bit of waltz in the middle. We danced to Fallout boy “Hum hallelujah” My dress spun out and revealed my rainbow petticoat every time we turned!

And just like that, it was over.

A Wedding Arch

I get married in three sleeps.

I feel as though “normal” people would be chilling right about now.

But I’m still painting and building things!

On the weekend, Guy and myself built an arch. It’s insane. It stands over 2.4m high!

Guy did most of the hard work for the arch, I just helped and held things

Guy drilling a support beam for the arch

Guy attaching the feet to the arch

The arch is bolted together at the top, so we can actually move it!

 

It’s huge!

We stained the arch a lovely walnut colour

We will decorate it with paper pinwheels, paper flowers and either streamers or fabric on the day.

The love sign is coming together too! I am going to try and finish painting it today. We have spotlights to light it up at night as well.

LOVE sign painting has started!

I still have lots of other little things to work on as well!

The next time I share with you, i’ll be a Mrs 🙂

Have fun, stay creative <3

Screen Printing!

So we decided yonks ago to do screen printed bags for our favors.

I wanted the design to be a bit more intricate than a hand cut stencil, which I would normally use, so I had decided to get a screen made.

I found a website by a local artist that made thermofax screens. Similar to an emulsed screen, and I didn’t have to mess around with emulsion and all that stuff.

Like usual, I left it to the last minute to organise this. Annoyingly, the company that made the supplies for thermofax screens, no longer make the materials and the artist could no longer make the screens.

Gah!

Enter plan B. I found a product “StencilPro” “Eziscreen” at Eckersleys. This is basically a pre-emulsed screen that can be exposed at home. It’s not cheap, but it is fun to play with! And I didn’t need to worry about emulsion.

StencilPro and the printed transparency

To start, I made a design. My preferred design program is Adobe Illustrator.

Wedding favors screen print design

Then you print this out on a transparent film. Using my inkjet printer, it never really dried. I used the tissue paper the transparencies came in to gently blot away some of the excess, but be careful while handling not to smudge. I do wonder how a laser printer would react to the film.

Now’s the fun bit. Exposing the design. Because the “StencilPro” mesh is light sensitive, you need to do this in a dark place. I went into my walk-in-robe, leaving the door open to get the smallest amount of light, so I could see what I was doing. I used a piece of cardboard to sit everything on. On top of the cardboard I placed the mesh, and then the transparency on top of that. I used two bulldog clips to hold it all in place. Be aware though, that this will not expose and an area will wash out from under the area the clips sit. This was not an issue for me, as they were hidden under the frame.

Following the instructions on the packet, I exposed my screen in the sun light for 16 seconds, before curing it in a bucket of water.

Using a paint brush, I gently brushed away the areas which were not exposed, revealing my design. I gently dried it off with a towel. Then let it dry completely for a few minutes.

Using a paint brush to brush away the unexposed areas to revel the design

I attached this to a plastic frame I picked up at the same time as the mesh. I exposed a second one too, and attached it to a cardboard frame, using gaffa tape to seal the cardboard.

Then it was time to print!

I turned my laundry into a screen printing studio! Such an amazing multipurpose space!

Printing the design onto calico drawstring bags

Just for the record, the screen product comes with several small squares to experiment with exposure times before using the full sheets of it. I do suggest using them. My first test exposure didn’t work too well, my second did and I was confident to do the full screen. But I ended up exposing the design a second time, as some of the lines were too fine and weren’t printing so well. So I went back into Illustrator and re-did some of the line work.

Printing with the first screen I made. Some of the lines were too fine for multiple print runs, so I exposed a second screen after thickening some of the lines.

The second print run worked out much much better!

I have 60 of these bags to make over the next week and a half. I’m doing a few everyday, so they will get done! I have blue, red, yellow and purple paint to play with, and a green on the way! These should fit in nicely with our “colourful” theme for our wedding.

And just in case you were wondering why we went with “Wedding Survival Kits” as favors… “Zombie Survival Kits” are one of Guys favorite things to make for friends and family for Christmas, so this was an extension on his love of making survival kits 🙂

I hope you have a creative week!

 

Wishing Well

This was another collaborative project with Guy.

We were umming and ahhing about what to do for a wishing well for the upcoming wedding. I thought it might be cool to do something in a similar fashion to Guy’s BAR sign.

So we ran with the idea. Gathering more rustic fence palings from The Green Shed, and dipping into our paint stash.

Firstly we needed to cut the palings down to size, so we (tried to) cut them in half. We’re not great with measuring, so we didn’t get them exactly in half and ended up cutting a small piece of one side as well.

Guy cutting the fence palings to size on the table saw.

Once everything was cut to the right size, we painted them in the same rainbow pattern as the BAR sign and left them to dry.

Cate does some painting

Guy does some painting

A rainbow of colours!

We used a piece of off cut, left over from our poor measuring skills, to screw each plank into a box like shape, and a simple lid.

Guy screwing the box together

We left a gab in the middle of the lid so people can “post” their cards and well wishes.

Here you can see the gab in the middle of the lid that will be where people can “post” their cards and well wishes

I found a font I liked, wrote “Wishing Well” and printed it off. Then I used my awesome tracing skills to trace it on the side of the box. I have been using a ballpoint to trace over the design, this leaves an indent that I can go back over with a pencil. This method didn’t work for this, the wood was too hard. So I created my own carbon paper by couring in the paper on the back of the design, so when you use your ballpoint to trace over the design, it leaves a line, just how carbon paper does.

Tracing the words onto the side of the box

I painted in the writing with white paint.

Painting the words on

We plan on lining the box with fabric.

It’s very rustic and colourful! It is going to look amazing with the rest of our decorations!

The wishing well !

16 days to go!

Have a creative week <3

A Crafty Hens Party

The weekend just past, my lovely sister and sister-in-law threw me a hens party.

As much as I told everyone I didn’t want to have one, and as much as I stressed about it right up until people started to arrive, I had so much fun, and glad it went ahead.

It’s a Hens Party!!

I organised a bit of a stitching project. I had to keep it really simple, as most people in attendance don’t sew all that much.

Everyone was given this information:

“This is going to be a collaborative project, where everyone has the opportunity to design and sew their own square. These will then be stitched to a larger backing cloth to become a wall hanging, and a way for me to remember this time of my life for years to come and all the amazing people here to help me celebrate.
I want every ones piece to be their own, but I understand not many people sew. To keep it simple, I’ve set up a few things for you. I’ve chosen to work with felt as it is a non-woven fabric, which means it doesn’t fray and is super forgiving during the sewing process.
I have cut squares which are six inches in size, so anything you do, it must fit on these. You can make as many squares as you like, but I anticipate most people will only make one tonight. If you find it an absolutely awful experience, don’t stress, enjoy some food and beverages and ask one of the super sewers to help out.
I’ve provided some basic shapes as a starter. Use these as your base to build upon, either with stitching, embellishment or layer the shapes together to create your own image.
For inspiration Google, or Pinterest “wool applique”. Anything with a simple shape can be made!”

And  sheets of simple shapes I had prepared earlier :

I had sheets of basic shapes as a starting point

And a stitch guide…

stitch guide

Mum bought mountains of embroidery threads, buttons and felt. I cut 6 inch squares for every one, and the rest was pretty much left to every ones imagination!

Everyone stitching and eating away

I was really impressed how everyone took the concept and came up with their own square! Of course, it couldn’t be a hens party without at least one adults only patch! (and if we’re honest, lots of typically themed hens party games, but I’ll spare you the details!)

All the finished blocks. I will stitch them to the black felt backing. There are still empty spaces, but I believe my other sister wanted to make a patch for it too, and maybe my mother-in-law-to-be

My lovely friend T organised some games for us to enjoy. One of which was using remnant fabric to make “wedding dresses”. For this one we split into two teams, me being the “model” for one team and my sister-in-law for the other team. Everyone else had 5 mins to use the fabric to create a dress for us.

Diana and myself in our wedding dresses created by the rest of the ladies! I love how the group who dressed me channeled the theme of the wedding and gave me a blue coloured skirt!

T also organised some flower crown making. With some lengths of plastic, leafy, vine, and colourful napkins. The flowers were made in a similar fashion as the ones I made here. We made different sizes by cutting the serviettes down.

Mum with her beautiful flower crown!

It was an amazing night!

Not long now until the Wedding!

Have a creative week <3

 

Just Another Wednesday…

I’m still sewing beads all over lace…

Madly stitching beads all over the lace, in hopes that I will be able to get the dress sewn together BEFORE the wedding lol

And my front yard isn’t looking as sparse as it was when I showed you all the copper trellis I made for it. We have since put in grass, an apricot tree, two passion fruits, a corn field and a gravel path. The “corn field” was/is meant to be a temporary garden. We had a lot of dirt left over from laying the grass, and have always wanted to grow corn in my front yard, and I somehow convinced Guy it would be a great idea. So I planted approx 90 corn seeds, and I’m hoping they all grow. I believe the deal I made was “as long as we can build a scarecrow for it”. So I’ve added a scarecrow to my to-do list.

The front yard is looking amazing now!

The back yard is all planted up now too. We are keeping the tomatoes covered for the next couple of weeks to try and avoid any late frosts. We’ve planted so many different things, I couldn’t tell you right now what I’m expecting to pop up in the coming weeks! It will be full of surprises!

Right along the back of the house we have our raised vege gardens. We planted so many seeds that I can’t remember what we planted any more. It’s sure to be a surprise 🙂

A very happy potato plant which self seeded from the compost we put in this bed. We are so excited to have a veggie garden again! It has been about 2 1/2 years since we last grew our own food!

Somehow a hens party got organised for me, after being very clear that I did not want one, and last week I had to make decisions about stuff (which is what I was trying to avoid). Anyways, I decided for an “activity” we should do a collaborative wall hanging. It’s this Saturday and I still have no idea where this is taking us. I’m thinking maybe applique and embroidering felt shapes together in a kind of felt medallion kind of style. This should mean those who don’t sew can keep it really simple, and those that do can go nuts on the embellishments.

It’s just over four weeks until the wedding. My to-do list looks like this :

  • Design and buy all the stuff for a “hens embroidery party”
  • Finish dress (finish beading, sew together, hem)
  • Put bouquet together (flowers are finished, just need to arrange and secure)
  • Paint a bunch of glass jars
  • Sew approx 20 covers for milk crates
  • Finish designing, then have made, then print, a screen print design for the favors bags. Then assemble bags.
  • Finish the LOVE sign (figure out supports and paint)
  • Make little tables (Cut circles of plywood and attach to cable reels)
  • Build a scarecrow…

And that’s just what I can remember…

Wish me luck! Still a few weeks to go…

Have a tops week!

How to Make a Simple Felt Flower

As I sit down to write this, I am a little bit annoyed at myself. I was hoping to have all my felting done and dusted. Alas, I am still working away at my bouquet. I showed you all the flowers I had made last week.  I will be at least a week behind schedule when I finish them. With two months until the wedding, this isn’t a massive stress, but with two months until the wedding I had hoped to have at least STARTED my wedding dress.

Everything else is starting to come together. I found the most spectacular necklace and earrings from Mariana. I’m experimenting with beauty regimes that I would never have tried before (can you say manicure?) and the landscaping is coming along – we just need to plant the backyard and we have started the front yard.

So today…

I teach you now how to make a super simple flower.

It basically starts off felting a couple of circles. I draw circles on the back of bubble wrap as a guide to size and shape. Then I layer roving over these areas.

The first layer of wool roving is layed down on top of the bubble wrap, with circles drawn underneath as a guide to size and shape

A second layer of wool is placed on top of the first, with the fibres running in the opposite direction.

A third and final layer of wool is placed on top, again changing the direction of the fibres.

A little bit of dish washing liquid is squeezed on top of the layers of roving.

And then wet down the wool with warm (as hot as you can handle) water.

Gently fold in the edges, so the wool takes the shape of the guide drawn underneath.

Edges neatened so it takes on the circle shape

 

Place another piece of bubble wrap on top and gently massage. This will help the fibres start sticking together and allow you to move it to more rigorous techniques

 

Place your circles on a sushi mat

 

And roll! I tend to count to 20, unroll, move the pieces to a different direction, re roll and start all over again. Continue this until your pieces hold together well.

Then I take the circle, find the centre , push it down into a funnel like shape, then place this back in the sushi mat and continue rolling

Continue rolling your flower until you are happy with how it has felted. I sometimes take mine to the kitchen sink which has that awesome drying area to one side. This is great for being extra rough on the felt and I can get a really nice thick felt rubbing it over this for a couple of minutes.

Then onto the flower centres. I have been making felt balls for this. I take some wool and twist it around my fingers until I have something that vaguely resembles at ball. I then use a needle felting needle to shape this into a nice neat ball

A nice neat ball shaped by needle felting it

I then take the nice ball I shaped by needle felting and wet felt it to make a nice firm ball. I simply add a little dishwashing liquid and run it under the tap (again, as hot as you can handle, don’t burn yourself!) and roll it in the palms of your hands. Channel your inner child from the days of rolling play-dough balls! Make sure you keep checking it so you don’t roll it into a funny shape!

Now you take all layers and sew them together. I find it easiest to sew one layer at a time, starting in the centre and working out.

Sewing the layers together.

I used this technique and variations of this technique to make all my flowers. You can vary how many layers you use for a different look. You can leave out the ball for the centres and just use beads instead. I went to town with the beads, stitching them around the ball in the centre.

These were made with three layers of circles. I added some sari silk to give it some texture.

And these ones have two layers of felt circles

Today I’m madly sewing stems and figuring out if I need to make any more flowers! Hopefully *cross my fingers and toes* I’ll be reporting the beginnings of my dress next week!

Until then, stay creative!

A Felt Flower Crown…

A felt flower crown, bouquet and other accessories. That’s what I have been madly trying to finish this week.

I’ve spread myself out all over the dining room floor!

I started in December last year with an order of brightly coloured wool from FeltFine. I spent months playing around with different ways to achieve felt flowers. Sometimes I made disasters that I hid away, other times I made something splendid and made a mental note on how to achieve the result again.

With the wedding fast approaching, and all the dyeing out of the way, I’ve had to knuckle down and commit to flower designs, so I can build a bouquet! Why a felt flower bouquet you might ask? *shrugs* Because why not? I’m approaching this wedding from the perspective that it’s a giant art installation, and it has been a great opportunity to test and refine my skills. I am having lots of fun with it too!

This is what I’ve got for the bouquet so far…

A spread of flowers. Some still need finishing, some still need to be made. I also need to work on stems and leaves (the green element)

And after I decided on making my own bouquet, I decided to make a bunch of other accessories too…

I have made boutonnieres for my Dad …

For Guy …

I made a hair piece for myself …

And a big piece I have spent way too much time on this week … A beautiful flower crown for my niece! I went to town with the beads on this one too!

I have it scheduled in to finish all the felting by the end of August, so I can focus on my dress in September (yep, a little nerve racking not even having started my dress two months out from the wedding!) But with September only two days away, its an unlikely achievement! Which means I must rush back to felting now!

Until next week, stay creative!