#AnnaforArmageddon

Earlier this month I saw an advert for Armageddon returning to Wellington. That means it’s been almost a year since I first wore my still unblogged #AnnaforArmageddon…so I thought I better get some photos 🙂

In late July last year Armageddon was on in Wellington and for the first time NH and I decided we would go…it was the perfect excuse to finally sew up my Dr Who printed fabric from Spoonflower. I had already decided it would make a great Anna dress and, having made two previously, I knew I could whip one up really quickly…we decided we would go on to Armageddon on the Saturday morning, nice and early before it got too crazy so of course I started sewing my dress on Friday night.

Now I’m just going to pause and talk about my fabric for a bit: It’s called “The Doctor’s Favourite Things” and I ordered it on Kona cotton.

I love that the Dr Who references are designed into a damask pattern so that the symbols aren’t immediately obvious to the uninitiated. I bought it exactly one year previously (July 2014) and I remember when it arrived I was disappointed at the colour vibrancy. To the point that I thought I had ordered the wrong colour combination. I am in design so I know that the computer screen can easily misrepresent true colour but all the photos on the Spoonflower site look much more intense.

Nighttime photos of unimpressed black cats require heavy Instagram filtering – keep reading for more colour-accurate fabric photos 😉

So I shrugged that off and put it into my stash for a future project. I pre-washed it on the Thursday (I am not usually a wash-as-I-buy seamstress) and as I was cutting out I noticed little white dots on the fabric.

On closer inspection these were areas where there was no ink. It looked like the fabric had pilling on it before printing and the pills had come off in the wash, along with the ink that was printed on them. I didn’t notice this when the fabric first arrived or before prewashing. There are quite a lot of them and it was really disappointing to discover these flaws halfway through cutting out. I was working quickly and concentrating on keeping the print mirrored while capturing my favourite parts without any accidental Seal-of-Rassilon-beewbs or a poorly placed Tardis.

I kept sewing and never contacted Spoonflower about my experience because I assumed that after having owned the fabric for a whole year, then already washing and cutting it they probably wouldn’t be interested in hearing my issues. However as I was drafting this post I decided that it would be unfair for me to not give them a chance to respond, in particular to the white dots.

Here’s what they had to say (click to enlarge):

So I sent some photos, lots of photos, like these:

And the reply:

Which I am sure you will agree is a great outcome. Lesson learnt: Wash and inspect Spoonflower fabric as soon as you receive it, contact them within 60 days if there are any issues.

I didn’t buy the Dr Who print again as my dress was all finished. I bought Hot Air Balloons instead, inspired by a dress i saw in a window:

I chose the cotton poplin this time and I washed my new fabric immediately. No white dots this time. Still not impressed with the colour vibrancy but free fabric is free fabric.

So anyway, back to the dress, which sewed up the same as my previous two and I wore it to Armageddon with sneakers because the Tenth Doctor is my favourite.

I even found a friendly Darlek.

These more recent photos were taken at Aotea Lagoon, I saw the phone booth on a previous visit and it seemed appropriate.

And in this image we can see that the photographer failed to notice that I didn’t quite get the zipper all the way up but if you squint you can see my label on a purple cotton rectangle that I attached to the facing…oh and slightly below average pattern matching on the CB zipper seam…

The problem with telephone booths and Dr Who themed dresses is that they are begging to be Photoshopped…

Wouldn’t you agree?

Too far? 😉

We didn’t go back to Armageddon this year. I found last years event pretty unimpressive. It was held in the concourse of Westpac Stadium, that’s the area immediately inside that you walk around while you try to find the right entrance to your seats.

Concourses are not event spaces, they are circulation.

We arrived just before doors opened and it was ridiculously busy. We were herded clockwise around the concourse past all the various stands, 20% of which were interesting but we couldn’t get to because of the crowds. The other 80% were stalls selling cheap knockoffs of nerdy toys. We decided to do one lap and then head back to the stalls that had caught our eye. At the end of our circuit we found the way back to the start was blocked off for the zombie run so the only option for another lap was to turn around and fight our way back against the flow or exit completely and queue back up outside in the rain.

We exited and went home.

But I got an amazing dress and yes I do wear it to work. You never know when Darleks might show up unannounced 😉

THE DEETS:

Pattern – By Hand London Anna Dress, variation 3, straight size 12

Fabric –The Doctor’s Favourite Things” on Kona cotton from Spoonflower

Other notions – Invisible zipper, a smidge of fusible interfacing

footer_kiwi with needle1

Drop down, increase speed and reverse direction!

So I made a hoodie…with Space Invaders on it…and lime green ribbing!

#BecauseGrownUp 😉

I picked this amazing fabric up from Levana in Levin. You must never drive north out of Wellington on SH1 and NOT go to Levana, it’s a rule.

I used the Papercut Undercover Hood which sews up in no time at all on an overlocker, and (not that it needs any further justification, but…) I made it for December’s Monthly Stitch G33k Out challenge.

I found the perfect lime with white polka dots for lining at Spotlight, on the discount table, natch! And Fabulous Sandra grabbed the green ribbing for me from a recent Fabric-a-brac, it was only $3, score!

I lined the hood as per the pattern but also the pocket for extra hidden colour and warmth.

This is super easy to do. Just cut an extra pocket piece, put them right sides together and sew around, leaving the bottom open, then turn through. I stitched the open pocket edges with my coverstitch and then attached it to the front as per the instructions, also using coverstitch. To strengthen the pocket opening I also added a narrow short zigzag at each corner.

I also ran a line of coverstitiching along the raglan sleeve seams.

The Space Invader fabric is a bit weird. It’s actually white and whole front is printed, including the black background, so when stretched you get a bit of white crackle where the base fabric shows through.

I pre-washed it and it looks ok but I don’t expect it to last very long.

The fabric wasn’t very expensive so I’ll call this a wearable muslin and I guess I’ll just have to make another…which I’ll be doing anyway 🙂

Next version I’d love to try to put a zipper in the front which should be easy…and NH is also eyeing up my hoodie sewing skills…thank goodness for speedy overlockers!

THE DEETS:

Pattern – Papercut Undercover Hood, full length version with hood, size XS

Main Fabric – Unidentifiable printed stretchy stuff from Levana, Levin

No changes next time in general, the sleeves and body are the perfect length. In a thicker fabric I might cut a size S and I’d like to try a zipper front version.

“You see these eyes, they’re old eyes. And one thing I can tell you, Alex: monsters are real.”*

To be read in the voice of David Attenborough:

New Zealand is a small nation of islands with a short but rich history of strange and unique creatures. Many readers will be familiar with this countries flightless national symbol, the Kiwi, and maybe even its extinct ancestor, the giant Moa.

Amongst the more interesting and sometimes frightening looking specimens are Tuatara, living fossils who lived alongside dinosaurs 220 million years ago, and the completely harmless, although it doesn’t look it, Wētā.

Even with all this native strangeness few ever imagined that New Zealand could also be sanctuary to Gru novaezelandiae, more commonly known as Domo-kun, and up until recently this was the only known photograph ever taken of one in the wild.

Little is know about this mysterious creature but in the last few months we have been lucky to travel deep into the New Zealand bush to investigate the possibility of its existence and we were fortunate to get a glimpse of what was previously thought only rumour.

We followed this shy creature for several hours, gradually getting closer as it grew more comfortable with our presence.

It was as curious about us as we were of it and eventually it grew bold enough to show itself in the open.

Fascinating!

This is of course Domo-kun, official mascot of Japan’s public broadcaster NHK, and I am very proud of him.

He was a requested project by someone who wishes to remain anonymous but let’s just say said person likes to watch nerdy things on YouTube and in one such video there was a giant furry Domo-kun in the background and a plan was formulated.

The initial idea was to find some faux fur, or perhaps a chunky fleece but the colour was just as important as the texture. Domo-kun’s pelt is very specific.

The hunt began at Spotlight in the city and then The Fabric Warehouse next door which both had nothing suitable. Next stop was Pete’s Emporium in Porirua, a large store of ridiculously random and often surprising merchandise. They had a lot of fur but nothing quite the right shade of Domo-kun brown.

As a last resort we went into the Porirua Spotlight which is planned such that the shortest route to the fabric (one must ALWAYS take the shortest route in a Spotlight store) is via Manchester and its various discount bins…where I was immediately drawn to some hideously textured towels in a hue that could only be described as Domo-kun Brown (Spotlight called them “Espresso but “Poo Brown” if also accurate). My accomplice also stopped, staring at the towels (which I was now petting) and we exchanged a grin.

We had found our Domo-kun pelt.

We added some red and white felt for the mouth, the biggest black plastic eyes we could find and a bag of hobby fill. We were ready to bring Domo-kun to life.

Back at home we selected a good Domo-kun outline from the internet and used the eyes to scale up as a pattern.

It was not quite as big as my accomplice wanted but big enough far as I was concerned.

I winged the construction so I’ll mostly let the photos speak for themselves:

I started with the mouth, attaching white felt triangle teeth to the red felt, then self faced the mouth opening with extra towel.

Domo fur gets everywhere!

The thickness was an issue to begin with but top-stitching around the opening created a subtle “lip” effect which was actually perfect…I did break two brand new needles doing it.

I added the eyes next, reinforcing them with small squares or towel behind.

Harri helped a lot as usual.

I was initially going to insert the pre-stuffed arms in the front side seam but my accomplice convinced me I had to find a better way so I split the side panels horizontally above and below the arm placement and then split the center portion vertically.

It was a lot of fun to sew all these seams with fully stuffed Doro arms flapping about but in the end it worked really well and made the arms more expressive and posable.

Attaching the sides was really easy except for between the legs where I broke a third needle while trying to maneuver the thick toweling and machine foot in the tight, erm, crotch area.

I left a small opening in one side for turning and we were ready to stuff.

He didn’t look like much after I turned him through but as I began to fill him with his fluffy polyester guts he really began to come alive and my accomplice was getting very excited.

I packed him quite densely so that he could stand up alone and then hand stitched the opening closed.

And that’s the story of Domo-kun who is highly prized and, weirdly, of everything I’ve made, is the creation that I have to defend the most. This blog post will hopefully help me convince people with the photographic evidence that I did actually make him!

I feel like something’s watching me…

THE DEETS:

Pattern – My own

Fabric & Notions – 

  • 2 x “Luxury Combed Towel – Espresso” $9.88
  • 1/2 sheet of red felt $0.82
  • 1/3 sheet white adhesive felt $ 1.09
  • 2 x eyes $ 0.82
  • 2/3 bag of Hobby Fill $6.58

Total cost: NZD$19.19

Domokun

*Night Terrors – Doctor Who (S06.E09)