Tutorial Tuesday: String Art Embellishment

When it was time to decorate a raffle box for the Spring Handmade Cavalcade, I really wanted to take advantage of the existing structure of the lunchbox. After much trial and error, I hit upon the idea of using the stitching holes as the basis of the design. During elementary school, one of my teachers had been in an art project rut that consisted of making string art for every single month. Apparently, time has made it fresh to me again, since I was pleased enough with the outcome to want to share it with you.

String art has its origins in activities invented at the end of the 19th Century to teach mathematical ideas to children, and became popular as a decorative craft in the late 1960s. Though straight lines are formed by the string, the angles and metric positions at which strings intersect give the appearance of curves.

For this project you need:
An item to embellish that has holes in it (holes can be configured as an angle or an arc)
Embroidery Thread
Glue (optional)

Thread the longest amount of thread that you think you can handle onto the needle (I use my full armspan, so about 5 feet). Tie a large knot and go from the back of the piece to the front at point #1 on the diagram. At this point I also like to add a dab of glue on the knot to keep it in place as well.

Follow the number patterns from 1-20 going from the back to the front on the odd numbers (1, 3, 5, etc.), and from front to back on the even numbers. Keep the thread taut as you go to keep the lines straight and neat. If you run out of thread, knot off on the back, and start again going up at the next odd number with a new piece.
Here is a step-by-step diagram to see how the picture emerges. Red lines are on the front of the piece, and the yellow lines are the shorter stitches hidden on the back. Click on the image to enlarge the diagram.

Now that you've completed the pattern, just knot off on the back, and if add a little dab of glue to anchor it in place.
You may have noticed that the arc that we've made could have continued the rest of the way around the circle. Alternately you could make an asymetrical design by making a different distance between a second set of points 1 and 2. I find that string art is so quick and easy to do (and undo) that experimentation is highly rewarding!
I would love if you could share any ideas or completed projects that this tutorial has inspired you to create in the comments section.


Sneak Peak of SHC Raffle Prizes!

With every purchase at the SHC, you'll receive a raffle ticket for a chance to win one of six uniquely embellished lunchboxes filled with handmade goodies.

Each lunchbox will be loaded with exciting full-size items from some of our vendors, among them prints by Allene La Spina and Aperture Agog; jewelry by Wabisabi Brooklyn and J. Topolski; candles by Lovely Day Designs; and cards by Littlebunny and Waisze Designs; and that's just a taste!!!

Don't forget to fill out a raffle ticket for EVERY purchase.

We will tape the live drawing and post it online so you can see the results. All raffle prizes will be mailed to winners.

Special thanks to our team embellishers: Tanya of Luckx4, Aliza of DesignsByAliza, Alexis of LadyThree Designs, Lauren of Paperelle, Alicia of Lingua Nigra, and Kari of Ikyoto.

See you at the Handmade Cavalcade!

--molly shoelace

Thing-A-Day 2010 Edition: Week 3

Winter persists in the city, but the Thing-A-Day project marches on. Here are selected images of week three's progress by {NewNew} members:
The Dime Rests
Warpe Design: Thing-A-Day / Etsy Shop
The Birds
WabiSabi Brooklyn: Thing-A-Day / Etsy Shop
Pepe's Village
Virginia Kraljevic: Thing-A-Day / Etsy Shop
Saru Star: Thing-A-Day / Etsy Shop
Joey Ramone
My Coney: Thing-A-Day / Etsy Shop
Flickr Pro
mellowbeing: Thing-A-Day / Etsy Shop
Scans of things I'm giving to the Goodwill
Look Closely Press: Thing-A-Day / Etsy Shop
Manatee Cards
little bunny: Thing-A-Day / Etsy Shop
Puppet Kitchen Puppet Scarf
Ikyoto: Thing-A-Day / Etsy Shop
Executive Bag
Groundsel: Thing-A-Day / Etsy Shop
Orange Flower on Turquoise on Green Baby Bodysuit
Felt It: Thing-A-Day / Etsy Shop

We're over the hump!


Thing-A-Day 2010 Edition: Week 2

February has a way of flying by, and the Thing-A-Day project is also halfway through. Here are selected images after two weeks of progress by {NewNew} members:

Tiny Carrot Brothers
Warpe Design: Thing-A-Day / Etsy Shop
WabiSabi Brooklyn: Thing-A-Day / Etsy Shop
Loverne and Marvel
Virginia Kraljevic: Thing-A-Day / Etsy Shop
Joey Potter
My Coney: Thing-A-Day / Etsy Shop
Day 9 & 10
mellowbeing: Thing-A-Day / Etsy Shop
Hammerhead Study
little bunny: Thing-A-Day / Etsy Shop
Takarazuka Eyeglass Brooch
Ikyoto: Thing-A-Day / Etsy Shop
Felt Applique Foot
Felt It: Thing-A-Day / Etsy Shop
Folded Flowers
Collective Elements: Thing-A-Day / Etsy Shop

Let's see how many of us make it all of the way through!


Thing-A-Day 2010 Edition: Week 1

Thing-A-Day is a collective creative challenge that is held every February. The idea is simple: sign-up is open to anyone until February 1st, participants commit to create one new thing a day every day for the entire month and share their progress. Participants can work in any medium and are free to follow-up on their commitment or not.

Here are selected images after one week of progress by {NewNew} members who have taken up the spirit:
Tiny Tomatoe's Nightmare
Warpe Design: Thing-A-Day / Etsy Shop
Cut Paper Cityscape
WabiSabi Brooklyn: Thing-A-Day / Etsy Shop
In The Name Of Love
Virginia Kraljevic: Thing-A-Day / Etsy Shop

Bakers Twine Basket
Pepper Sprouts: Thing-A-Day / Etsy ShopWhere have you gone, Joe DiMaggio? A nation turns its lonely eyes to you.
My Coney: Thing-A-Day / Etsy Shop
Postcard #6
mellowbeing: Thing-A-Day / Etsy Shop

Say Anything Penguin
little bunny: Thing-A-Day / Etsy Shop

Mask From A Single Sheet Of Paper
Ikyoto: Thing-A-Day / Etsy Shop
Godzilla Hoodie For Toddler
Felt It: Thing-A-Day / Etsy ShopLove Paperweight
Collective Elements: Thing-A-Day / Etsy Shop

I hope you are as excited as I am to see how everyone's journey continues!


Better Than Jam Opening Party

The NEW Better Than Jam Handmade Co-Op opens its doors on February 1, 2010. Located at 1095 Flushing Ave, the Co-Op is soon to be neighbors with 20 other diverse businesses that will inhabit the "Markets at the Loom," providing a varied destination for local shoppers to shop and browse.

Opening: February 1
Grand opening reception: Friday February 5th 7-10pm

Come mingle with the designers and receive complimentary drinks , 10% off selected designers, and a free tote bag with purchase, compliments of The {NewNew} Etsy street team.

Some featured designers are:

The Hand of Fatima
Wabisabi Brooklyn
Better Than Jam
Danielle Maveal
Caja Jewelry
Lingua Nigra
Knit Knit

Broadway Bears: Carrie Fisher's Wishful Drinking Bear

The Great White Way has a lot to offer, but one more contribution that may surprise the uninitiated is Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS charity. Drawing on the star power and talents of various New Yorkers, they raise money though such unique events as the upcoming Broadway Bears Auction (not to be confused with their fundraising strip show, Broadway Bares).

One bear appearing on the auction block this year has a NewNew connection, since it was made by Kari Love of Ikyoto.

The bear of the hour represents Carrie Fisher in her hit one-woman show, Wishful Drinking. Perhaps inspired by a combination of her 2009 Conan O'Brien appearance as the liberator of the masturbating bear and the proliferation of dolls made of her in the past (noted in the show itself), Ms. Fisher was eager to have a bear in her likeness.

The bear features a "Gypsy Lace" duster of assembled and sewn fibers creating a web-like texture of yarns made by Diane Prekup, who also made the original. Underneath, she wears midnight blue silk charmeuse pajamas cut from remnants of the original Broadway garments with a pocket filled with confetti from the show. Her sandals feature silver leather straps adorned with Swarovski crystal beads. Her wig is a reproduction of her famous Princess Leia hairstyle. She has also been signed by Carrie Fisher.

(Kari proudly shows off the signature on the bear.)

You can make a bid online until the auction on February 14, 2010, or even by phone during the event if you can't attend.


How-To IKEA Hack: Circular Bulletin Boards

Sometimes you need a quick and easy handmade gift (or to restyle your own desk or studio space), so here is a simple IKEA hack that takes less than an hour and under $5.

Trivet to Bulletin Board

You will need:
IKEA's "Heat" Trivets ($2.99 for the set)
Attractive flat thumbtacks
Scrap fabric larger than the trivets
Glue (I used Magna-Tac, but Tacky glue or hot glue would be good choices)
A drill with large drill bit

First, drill a large hole in each piece of cork about 1" from the edge. These holes need to be large enough for hanging your finished board by either a nail or a push pin.

Next, push your thumbtacks through the fabric along the narrow edge of the cork. Pull the fabric as you go to make a taut and smooth surface on the face of the bulletin board. You will get the best results if you add the tacks evenly with each tack opposite to the one you put before (see example starting order below).
Fill in this pattern until your edge is completely covered with thumbtacks.

At this point, your bulletin boards should look like this.

Flip over your bulletin board, and trim excess fabric to about 1" all the way around.
Glue down the excess fabric around the back. Allow to dry.
You're finished! Here are the three coordinating bulletin boards I made for this tutorial.
Hope you enjoy making this quick project, and please link to photos of your finished bulletin boards or comment to share variations that you come up with.


craft on draught!

last thursday, i attended a really fun crafting event: the first craft on draught night at spacecraft in south williamsburg. with me were two other {newnew} refashioners: kayte of this is love forever and kari of ikyoto.

craft on draught is a series of crafting parties, co-sponsored by the {newnew}, that promise "the ultimate happy hour of destruction, reconstruction, and social mixing!" as you can see here, it was just that:

your admission fee gives you access to a huge heap of awesome donated fabric and clothes, tons of trimmings, and all the tools and supplies you could desire, from needles and thread to hot glue guns. some people used all these goodies to give new life to old clothes, while others chose to create entirely new garments.

here's me with kayte and kari and our creations:

i turned my old mock-turtleneck sweater into a cardigan with the help of a giant button and some reverse applique. kayte gave a stripey dress some sequin-infused appliques made from a gorgeous marimekko print. kari took a shirt and some coordinating fabric and put them together to make a cropped summer cardigan. do you see the horse print on that shirt? there really were some amazing materials to work with. we ripped, we sewed, we laughed, we drank pbr. all in all, the perfect night.

hope to see you there for the next one. it will be at 3rd ward on thursday may 7th, and will focus on felting old wool clothing. come and catch the refashioning spirit!

- cakehouse

Wardrobe Refashion: How-to Make Your Dress Form Look Like You (Only Better)

Although I have a pile of clothes waiting to be refashioned and an equal stack of fabric that could become cute new outfits, first things first. My kick-off project was to tackle getting my dress form ready to roll. Since it is a task that many home sewers might not have a lot of experience with, here is some professional advice to guide you. This process is different from making an exact replica of your body. Instead, this form yields clothing that not only fits, but also flatters.
Here is my dress form. Unsurprisingly, it has great proportions and a very standard figure. Very few people in the world will find their measurements to be the same as their dress form, no matter how fabulous we all know we look!
At this point, it is time to make direct comparisons. Take thorough and accurate measurements of your over-bust, bust, under-bust, waist, high and low hip, and those of your form. This is not the part where we flatter ourselves. This process is meaningless without total honesty. Establish where you and the form differ and by how much. In my example, the form and I are the same except for the waist.
You'll need various forms of padding (e.g. shoulder pads, bust pads, and batting) to pin onto your form. The most effective way to pin them is by using straight pins with the length nearly flat to the form, and the tip pointing towards the center of your pad.

The #1 trick of padding a stand is making the measurements the same as your own, but doing so by putting the extra where you wish it was.

If your bust measurement is bigger, try putting the padding on the breasts. If your hip measurement is bigger, add it to either your butt or sides depending which you think looks more pleasing. Even if you carry most of your extra waist in the front, spread it around to give a more even silhouette.

Here is an example with padding added to the breast using a commercial bust pad.This one is for adding a little extra lift to the butt area to extend the hip measurement using two shoulder pads with flat edges together.
Here are the steps I took in my own case. First I used two thin shoulder pads in the small of the back. Then two sets of thick shoulder pads to either side. The tapering edges of the pads help smooth out the shape to keep from having big jumps in size.
Next I used a folded piece of batting directly in the waistline to help bulk it up more. Then I used a single layer of batting to assure the smooth transition to the rest of the form.
The measurements all matched at this point, so I added a ribbon to mark the new waist. Using a Sharpie, I extended my center front and princess lines onto the padding.
The form is now precisely my measurements and will make a dress that fits my body. By fudging the placement, the added bonus is any clothes made on this stand will be well proportioned, which ultimately makes me and my projects look even better.