Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I Made Panties!!! (tee hee)

Ever since I saw a link to this tutorial on, I have been dying to try making my own. I made these from an old T-shirt that I had kicking around for a long time. I had originally planned to make a throw-pillow out of it, but it didn't work for some reason I don't remember, and I only had half the shirt left. The good news is that it only takes about a half a shirt to make a pair.

Here's a picture of the front:
And some detailing:
I attached the elastic using a double-needle since my serger is acting up. I really must get that fixed...

I still have a whole stack of old shirts lying around that I didn't know what to do with - you know those ones that are just too awesome to throw out, but are in too rough a shape to wear. Well, as underwear they are very comfortable, even if they may not last too long. I'm sure some of them will become yarn (dying to try this!), and I may even make a scarf if I find the right colours.

On another note, I have been loving some of the felted crafts I've been seeing around, making me want to get my hands on some wool. These earrings from Leethal Knits I find extremely inspiring.
I also want to someday try to make my own felted hat... *sigh*. So much to craft, so little time.

Anyhow, tomorrow is the wedding! I will show pics of our DIY photo-booth after the weekend-of-mayhem is over!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Expandable Posts

Today I learned how to make expandable posts on Blogger! The Blog Doctor has great step-by-step (New Kids, anybody?) instructions on how to do it here. Thanks Blog Doctor!

Green dress is complete!

I finally finished the dress for the wedding! I used an old pattern from 1975 that I hadn't ever touched before... it either used to belong to my mom or I picked it up second-hand somewhere, I'm not sure which. I had to alter the pattern since it was in a size 12 and I'm more like a size 16, but it turns out this pattern is very forgiving, and it turned out great! I just added 1/2" to each seam allowance and eye-balled the curves.

The pattern is supposed to attach the halter-strap behind the neck with buttons, but I never liked that kind of attachment. I find that anything behind the neck, depending on your position, will get too tight or too loose. Here's what I did instead:

First, I measured the overlap when the straps were sitting comfortably behind my neck.

Then, I sewed a tube of fabric about 1.5" longer than that length and the width of the strap. I then cut out 2 strips of elastic (I didn't have any wide elastic) a little longer than the length of the overlap.

I placed the strips of fabric side by side in the fabric tube. I then cut the straps down to eliminate the overlapping ends entirely, but keeping 1/4" seam allowance, which I then folded into the strap. After that, just slip the tube and elastics into the strap, and sew the whole thing!

I pushed the fabric of the tube down until it is level with the end of the elastics (I exaggerated a bit here to show the elastic), then sewed the other side in a similar way.

Voila! A comfortable halter strap! And if you're wondering about the tape on my back, I have had to have that lately to keep my muscles in the correct place. It's all to help get rid of some neck/shoulder problems that I can thank working in front of a computer for...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A new look!

I finally changed the look of the blog. Blogger is turning out to be a lot tougher to work with than I had anticipated. Changing fonts is easy, but changing things that should be simple, like a background colour, is far from intuitive. It's darker than I would like, but at least it saves power, right?

I'll have to work on it some more, I swear. I am slowly but surely figuring this beast out.

Also, I finished the dress for the wedding! Pictures are to come, but it needs an ironing before any action shots are to be taken.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Female runner being tested to check she is a woman...

I know this is not craft related, but I have an interest in issues of gender and sexuality, and found this story intriguing. The basics of the story are pretty simple: a winning female runner has a fairly masculine build and face and a deep voice, so they want to check to make sure she's really a woman.

What's really interesting is that it's not just a simple matter of "drop your pants and let's have a look". The process of testing 18-year-old Caster Semenya's gender will take weeks and will involve several specialists.

The part I found most intriguing is published in the paper version of the National Post story, but not online for some reason. There are conditions that may be at play where it is possible Semenya is outwardly female, but may have a hormonal imbalance, or some other genetic make-up that would alter her physiology to make her more masculine. This would affect her looks, but also her abilities. Apparently, the fabulous people from the Olympics would consider this an unfair advantage and require her to take hormone supplements, etc, before being allowed to compete professionally.

The idea of her having to artificially alter her physiology just to be able to compete in an organization that rejects that very idea seems somewhat ridiculous. Will her odd hormonal balance give her an advantage? Probably. But, why shouldn't she take advantage of that? She probably has enough gender identification issues from being barred from ladies bathrooms, etc. Why should she have to change to be considered female? Her masculine looks have probably caused her enough trouble - I think it's time she get something good out of the deal. And maybe set a few records along the way.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I made a bra-extender from an old bra!

OK, so the end result is none too pretty, but it was a really quick project and works extremely well. I just cut the attachment part off an old bra, and sewed it onto a double-layer of material from an old T-shirt. Everything is sewn with a zig-zag to finish the edges.

I made sure that the piece of material I was using as a base was as wide as the bra-strap I wanted it to fit, and as long as the two ends I cut off the old bra, then just fit each piece into its respective corner, and voila!

The whole reason I made this was for a lovely halter dress I am making to wear to a wedding. Unfortunately, my only strapless bra (trust me, I can't go without) is just a little too tight, making the dress way too loose in the top. It's much better now that the bra is fitting right.

Funny thing, after I finished this, I was in a really good mood and wanted to finish the dress (all I have left is the hem), but I couldn't for the life of me find the thread to match it. My boyfriend and I tore the entire apartment apart looking for it. Eventually I just gave up, not wanting to sew anymore. I went to put the cover on the sewing machine, and noticed a trail of green thread coming out of it. It turns out the spool of thread was stuck in the sewing machine cover!! I couldn't stop laughing for a while after that one...

Burlesque + DIY = BFF?

I love burlesque. But, then again, who doesn't? Strong women creating beautiful fantasies before your eyes, or just evoking hilarious imagery that makes you laugh 'til you hurt. The variety of shows is endless. I have seen ladies dressed in period costume swaying to sensual beats. I have seen robots with flashing innards "connecting" with each other. I have seen monsters, and cats, and zombies, and so so so much more.

Through all the variety burlesque has to offer, there is one thing that most of it has in common: DIY. Since show are so unique, the amazing costumes and props are often created by the performers themselves. One performer I love is Vienna La Rouge, formerly from Seattle, now residing in California. She hand-decorates her delicious corsets with thousands of Swarovski crystals.

Such creativity does not come without a cost that most crafters will find familiar. Talk to just about any burlesque artist, and they will tell you how their home is just filled with bits of shiny fabric, feathers, lace, faux fur and more. Add this to ready made props, costumes and shoes (oh, the shoes!), and their homes become basically one giant closet/craft room. I don't know about you, but I can certainly relate.

If you love burlesque and are in the greater Vancouver area, I HIGHLY recommend you purchase tickets to Shine: A Burlesque Musical. Local artists have poured their heart and soul into this production, and the result is very interesting and entertaining.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Zippered Tote-bag How-to

Heart of Mary posted a tutorial for this awesome tote bag that zips up into a little pocket. So handy! Update: The new and improved tutorial for this tote is now available for a small fee at her Etsy shop Simple Things!

To day I made... A Blog!

Hello, and welcome to Intelligent Designs; my blog for anything about craft, creativity, and design.

First, an introduction. My name is Sonya (how do you do!) and I have been wanting to start a blog for a while. The ideas and creations of others have been so inspirational to me in the past, I thought I would pass along the help and information. I can't say just yet what this blog will evolve into, but here are some of the things you're likely to find here in the future:

  • Sewing projects: Finished pictures and how-to's
  • Knitting: My adventures with yarn and needles
  • Cooking: Sometimes making tasty things can be so simple...
  • General thoughts on the DIY movement
  • Craft projects and inspiration
Hopefully some of the projects and ideas I post here will be inspirational to others. Here are some of the blogs I use as inspiration:

There are many others - too many to mention here. I will certainly post links to them whenever I find something fun. Happy crafting!