Tag Archives: sustainability

Violent Fade armor

My sweetie rocks.  For real.  He’s in a band.

Violent Fade is a three-piece prog-rock band (progressive rock……I had to ask, too) from Omaha and Des Moines.  They practice in my basement and they are seriously good.  I mean, of course I’m biased because I’m in love with the drummer, but ya gotta trust me.  They are good.  Or don’t trust me and see for yourself.  First show: April 21st at Vaudeville Mews in Des Moines.

So, now that they’ve got gigs lined up, they are gonna need something to wear on stage.  After I chatted with the guys a bit, I decided to make them some accessories.  Some very masculine accessories.  I love making armor, so I wanted make them some armor but with a bit of a lost-boys-from-Neverland twist.  Rufio!  Rufio!   Ru-Fi-OOoooo!

So, you know how I’m kind of addicted to recycling.  These pieces have so much textile recycling going on, I can barely handle it.  The different fabrics are from all over the place: a worn out tunic dress I saved from a costume shop dumpster, some old corduroy pants, bits of lining scraps from the last garment I made, and some practice samples from a huge rug-making experiment I just finished.  The leather is from a coat and a vest.  The fur is from a vintage coat.  I only use recycled fur and leather.  I never buy new.  It’s my compromise:  I don’t want to feel like I’m actually helping the leather/fur industry because I love animals.  I also love fur and leather.  Conundrum.

I love texture.  I tried out some new texture techniques while incorporating things that I already know that I love: distressed leather, studs, fur, fringe, chain.  One texture that I’ve been trying to use more of is hair.  It’s not human hair (this time), but some synthetic strands I picked up awhile ago.

With all the handstitching and detail work on these accessories, I needed to take alot of puppy breaks. I took one of the shoulder armor pieces I had been working on and put it on my tiny pup’s head.  It makes a pretty badass bonnet. But, my tiny pup, Thor, looks good in everything.

My tiny best friend, Thor, in his badass bonnet.

The shoulder armor looks pretty badass even when it’s not worn as a puppy bonnet.

I’ve said before how I LOVE making stagewear for musicians.  It’s one of my favorite things to do.  This project was extra fun because I got to design these pieces while they practiced their music.  No need to make an inspiring playlist–Violent Fade provides live music from my basement.   This project was also extra fun because they pretty much told me “just make us some cool stuff to wear.”  Yeah….I am pretty sure I can handle making “some cool stuff.”  And I’m in love with the drummer.  So, of course this is a fun project.

Violent Fade armor

Violent Fade:


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Side Project: Beaver Fever!

I’m a textiles recycling enthusiast.

Or, as my partner sees it: I am incapable of throwing fabric away.

Seriously, I have boxes and bags of scraps that I just KNOW will come in handy for some project someday that will need just a teeny tiny scrap of that ONE fabric.  So, I keep it.  In addition to keeping fabric scraps, I even save thread clippings.  I’ve used thread scraps in the past for stuffing small plush creatures, so I’ve just continued saving thread bits for years and years.  I told you I’m a textiles recycling enthusiast: recycled thread guts.

Recycled guts collection site: Toss your thread clippings here!

I’ve been working on some plush creature patterns lately.  The first one I focused on was a super chubby beaver.  Now I’m SUPER glad I’ve been keeping all these scraps for years, because it takes alot of guts to stuff a super chubby beaver.  (I meant that sentence in the G-rated version.)

Pile o' beaver parts.

While I’ve been patterning clothes/accessories/costumes for years, plush creatures are real, real hard for me to pattern.  I think it’s because I don’t necessarily have a brain that works three-dimensionally.  Sure, clothes are essentially soft, three-dimensional sculptures worn around a body, but I have learned the shapes, curves, and contours of these sculptures.  The starting point is always human body shaped, so I’ve been able to spend years figuring it out.  With my plush creatures, there’s not really a starting point.  My brain panics. I decided to dive into this project despite my “holy cow…..what?!” mentality.

Using recycled guts.

While I still have some fine-tuning on my pattern, it definitely turned into a chubby beaver body.  When I use the recycled textiles, I tend to stuff them fairly tightly.  This gives the plushie some weight and they feel pretty dense.  I happen to like this, but not everyone does.  Some people prefer the super soft and squishy type.  Personal preference, no judgement here.

Now the fun part: details!  You all know how I love to get caught up in details.

Nose job!

A soft leather nose, suede stitched teeth, mop of furry hair, a quilted tail.  Yep.  Details are definitely my favorite.

Securing the teeth. Audio Helkuik: designer, costumer, beaver dentist....?

Over all, I’m reeeeeeeally excited about the outcome of this side project.  While I love making clothes, I’ve always wanted to be a monster-maker.  Okay, so a beaver isn’t a monster…..but if I can make a beaver, I can make a monster, right?   Plus, I love using up the scraps from all my other projects.  The beaver was stuffed using scraps from my clothing collection. A beaver with circus guts has got to have a destiny of serious awesomeness.  I think I have enough scraps to make a small army of creatures.  Since I’m constantly sewing clothes for clients, I’ll be continually creating guts.  Really, my studio has created a great cycle of sustainability as far as guts goes.  Textiles recycling winner!  And chubby-beaver-maker winner!

Beaver Fever: my new chubby beaver friend!

You know what they say: If you can’t make friends….MAKE some friends.



Posted by on 03.13.12 in Side Projects


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