Posts Tagged ‘halloween’

Gothic Loli Dress – Dark Elegance for the Spooky Season

Today is another very special addition to our long line of Lab projects designed to push the boundaries of embroidery and the imagination of our team. This lab project is pretty special for our newest member Danielle, because everything from the embroidery to the dress to the modeling is done by Dani herself! 

Starting from the ground up with the designs, UT artist Dani took on a new project perfect for capturing not only the darker sentiments of the season but the inspirations from whole new subculture. She is the illustrator behind the darkly glam new Gothic Gala embroidery designs, and created this amazing project to show just what can be done with them. Similar to a previous October Lab where we explored the subculture of steampunk (a style has been explored often by UT stitchers) it seemed time this October to try something a little more classically gothic to suit the season. Dani is here to show off her amazing creation she designed and embroidered, and to tell us all about the Victorian-influenced style of Gothic Lolita

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“I’ve always been fascinated by the vibrant street fashion that comes out of the Harajuku district of Tokyo. It’s a fashion culture that is brimming with creativity and a certain kind of fearlessness that allows one to don giant Pikachu pajamas in public or to apply grotesque amounts of makeup or to wear the most frilly, lacy, doll-like dress you can find. There are many different subcultures that have roots in the streets of Harajuku, but the one I wish to bring to you today is Gothic Lolita.

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Gothic Lolita, sometimes abbreviated as GothLoli, is a style of the more widely recognizable Japanese fashion subculture Lolita. The original Lolita fashion is based on Victorian-era clothing, aiming for frilly blouses, cupcake-shaped petticoats, more lace than is humanly acceptable, and an air of innocence. There are many styles of Lolita, each of which have their own distinct look and take on the modern Victorian-inspired fashion. The Lolita spectrum can range from sweet pastels and stuffed animals to classic, true-to-form Victorian elegance to black upon black and dark frills that mimic the look of a nineteenth century doll.

I decided upon going the Gothic Lolita route because I felt it had the most consistency in style that would lend itself to a series of elegant gothic embroidery designs. And, with Halloween approaching, I figured I could make a kickin’ costume at the same time.

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I started with a sketch of the dress, designing some of the embroidery I knew I wanted to have featured into the sketch. It was really nice being able to design the Gothic Gala series and the dress simultaneously, as I could draw pieces to fit together in ways that I knew would be functional for this type of project.

For the Gothic Gala embroidery designs, I envisioned it with an overall gothic feel rather than an exclusively GothLoli feel that would limit the reach of the designs. Rather than drawing in the lacy, frilly elements of the dress, I kept the series more versatile without losing some of the beautiful elegance I drew from the Victorian styling of the Gothic Lolita style. I had a lot of fun piecing different parts of the series together and making them work in conjunction to one another, so that the shapes of different designs work seamlessly with one another, making the series flexible for all kinds of creations. This way, the Gothic Gala series can be used far past the realms of this subculture, perfect for any Halloween project or for that gothic project you’ve always secretly wanted.

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While incorporating the designs into the dress, I wanted the skirt to feature the cathedral and gates designs most prominently in the outer layer of the dress, forming a sort of gothic scene along the bottom as they lined up. Originally I had thought of doing an inverted bat centerpiece in the back of the dress, but then I laughed at myself and decided that I didn’t want to torment myself that much. I did end up designing the swoop of roses to line up with either side of the bat design, so the shape constructed by the two pieces complemented the shape of the dress as it opens up in the back.

Then I started the grueling process of actually making the Lolita dress. It had been several years since I had sewn anything, so I did a trial run to make sure I hadn’t forgotten how to do it. Evidently, sewing is like riding a bike, as you don’t quite forget, but you’re pretty much freaking out the whole time and you’re so very exhausted afterwards.

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There was still a lot of ripping seams and re-sewing , and I did manage to stitch several pieces of fabric together that were certainly not supposed to be stitched together. Although, the biggest hindrance to making this dress was that my cat wanted to help.

Overall, I’m really excited with how this project came out, and I’m so ready to greet Halloween in proper Gothic Lolita style!” -D

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Doesn’t this make you want to just frolic in the forest like a crafty and dark fairytale princess?

Experiments such as this help push our team of artists and designers to make better designs by remembering that these embroidery collections are meant to create projects larger than themselves. There’s nothing better to help inspire a series then by knowing it has to be something flexible and usable on a real sewing project, and these new Gothic Gala designs are sure to take you from frightful October festivities to gothic glam occasions and beyond. For some (especially those in love with offbeat subcultures), October isn’t the only time to add some bats and swirls to your life.

Still, the bright and bold autumn leaves do make a fantastic backdrop to the darker styles, and now is the perfect time of year to experiment with some darker inspirations you may not feel bold enough to try the rest of the year. As always, if you do grab the new Gothic Gala collection, be sure to share with us your dark and beautiful creations. There’s no better time to get stitching!

 
This project is part of The Lab, a UT initiative to experiment, collaborate and innovate to see just what can be done with the art of embroidery.
 
Check out our other projects by searching for the UT Lab tag.

Urban Threads Costume Contest 2013

The embroidery machines are a-whirrin’, and a chill is in the air. October is here, and it’s time for one of our favorite contests…

The Urban Threads annual Costume Contest!

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The contest starts Tuesday, Oct. 1, and ends Nov. 1, 2013, at 11:59 p.m. Central time. Your costume can be from any time (meaning it doesn’t have to be a Halloween costume), but cannot already have been entered in a previous year’s contest.

How do you enter? Just take a photo of your awesome costume that features at least one Urban Threads embroidery design (hand or machine). Costumes may be for people or pets! You can then either email your photo to contest@urbanthreads.com, or upload it to the Urban Embroidery flickr group with the tag utcostume2013. Remember to get your photo entered before the witching hour on the day after Halloween!

We’ll choose our 10 favorites as finalists, and post those 10 to be voted on BY YOU the week after Halloween. UT stitchers will vote to see which lucky costumer wins…

A $50 Urban Threads gift certificate!

(woot!)

Looking to get inspired? Check out the amazing entries from last year.

Good luck and happy stitching! Last year was amazing, and I cannot wait to see what you cook up this time…

Featured Project – The Blue Fairy

Autumn is really starting to bloom around here, and it’s got me all excited about Halloween! Fall is my favorite season, and the array of amazing costumes it brings isone of my favorite things about it. I thought it would be perfect to kick off the costume season with a favorite costumer we’ve seen before… the amazing Urban Threadster, Azre Greis! You will probably remember her from the epic Steamwork Doll Costume, and she’s back and stitching with a vengeance. She whipped up this amazing water-themed blue fairy costume for a Ren fest she was planning to attend. She went just as crazy this time as she did last time, and the results are impressive! She joins us today to talk a little about what inspired the costume and what it was like to make…

This is an incredible costume! Talk to us a bit about what started it. Was it for an event in particular?

Thank you! Out in Texas there is a large Renaissance festival called TRF (Texas Renaissance Festival) and I really didn’t have anything good to wear out to it as the mish-mash I had worn the prior year was very disappointing. We were going to it with a friend who was renowned for her adorable fairy costume and decided we’d make costumes to go with her. I chose a water fairy because I love the water and the color blue and had blonde hair at the time so they all seemed to fit together well.

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She was very gracious and encouraged the project by asking me what kind of wings I’d like to have and made those for me along with the goggles I have on my head. TRF is typically a cold and rainy faire so the costume was made from many parts and has lots of opportunities for layering for the sake of warmth and weather compliance.

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I wanted to look like I was flowing all the time, perpetually coming up out of the water so all the fabric is very light with a lot of reflective qualities. The cape I’m wearing was actually made for by a friend vendor at another faire called Sherwood Forest who was inspired by my costume and made it just for me, even with holes for my wings to go through!

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How did you go about choosing designs? How many are on there?

I chose light designs with a lot of open space. The costume itself uses salt water animals while the cape is fresh water. Overall the costume includes about 31 embroideries.

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How long did the embroidery take?

Probably about 70 hours. I used a lot of metallic thread which always slows me down.

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How long did the whole thing take you to make? Was the costume designed by you, or was it based on a pattern?

The costume has evolved a bit over the last year or so. All told I think I put about 2 weeks of work into it. I added trims, more pearls, decorative stitching and knickknacks such as the satchel and a vial of perfume with some stones. The idea for the pants came from a genie pattern made by Simplicity, but I drastically exaggerated the drape pieces for it so that I’d get more swish when I walked.

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The top is a common blouse again from Simplicity with the rest of the sleeves cut off and a looser neck. The rest of it is just kind of slapped together from late nights and “brilliant” ideas that didn’t always work out. The two drapes on my arms were originally meant to be tight against my arm the entire way up and then in strips hanging down. I dropped that idea in favor of the loose sort of drape effect it has now for the sake of warmth.

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Did you run into any problems along the way? Any tips for people trying something like this?

Always make sure you’ve got the right stabilizer. I had to do over one of the pieces for the chest because the stabilizer I had was too lightweight and collapsed under the design. The fabric I used had a lot of stretch and needed the additional support the stabilizer granted. I also learned a lot when I did the leg pieces (organza) and used the knowledge from that to do a better job on the cape with a water soluble one side adhesive stabilizer.

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It took a really long time to properly rinse the cape so that it flowed properly, but it was worth it in the end. To anyone else doing such a thing, hang up your large project in a stand up shower, close the shower curtain and use hot water in a downward spray to get all the stabilizer out and keep it from making your ends stiff.

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How did people react to the costume and the embroidery?

The best reaction I ever got was a small boy, around 4 years old, who flew at me when we were at Sherwood. He came to a dead stop in front of me and peered, stating with great confidence, “I remember you…!” And proceeded to tell me a story about how he’d met me in the forest once the year before.

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This was impossible as the costume was new at the time, but it made me feel fantastic to know I had embodied a child’s imaginary experience and brought it to life. I’ve gotten many compliments, been mistaken for cast at two different faires (which I’d love to be one day) and it’s a fun costume to wear. It takes a lot of time to get on but it’s always worth it and it’s very comfortable to go tearing around being silly in.

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You seem to always be cooking up new costume ideas! What’s your next project going to be?

I am currently working on several new things! A Princess Toadstool from Super Mario Land (SNES), Queen Frostine from Candy Land (the board game), and Queen Zurline from The Life and Adventure of Santa Claus (a Rankin-Bass movie) as well as a new sort of barbarian costume that I plan to use a lot of Celtic or Nordic patterns you’ve got up on, I’m having trouble deciding so all the printed out pieces are pinned to the dress in various places. I’ve also done several wedding dresses using designs from Urban Threads that I hope to get some good pictures of soon once the brides have had time to settle in and pick their favourites.

I’m totally addicted to you guys!

As usual, this costume gets my gears going about this year’s Halloween costume. Slightly out of character for me, I haven’t yet decided what I’m going to be, but this certainly gets me inspired to start! What about you stitchers? Have any epic costumes in the works? Well, if it’s anything like the stunning creations from Azre Greis, be sure to drop us a line at support@urbanthreads.com or upload your Urban Threads stuff to our flickr group so we can see what you’re stitching.

Makeup by Kristie MacLean, wings by Jenna Idaho, cape by Two Spools, and photos by Marcos Melendez. See Azre Greis’ shop here.

Urban Entrepreneur – Sew Fun Doll Clothes

Far from the traditional outfits you’d usually find on these pretty dolls, Sew Fun Doll Clothes specializes in making offbeat and fantastical outfits that any one of us would LOVE to have! It seems almost unfair that the dolls get all the fun. The lovely Urban Entrepreneur Cher joins us today to tell us how she made a growing biz out of making one-of-a-kind embroidered outfits.

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I assume the love of dolls and doll clothes came first. What got you into all that?

I’ve been sewing since junior high, but started sewing doll clothes when my daughters got their American Girl dolls as gifts many years ago. I loved the historical outfits and stories those early Pleasant Company dolls came with, but since we couldn’t afford to buy that many doll clothes back then, I started sewing for my daughters’ dolls.

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My girls are now grown and on their own, but making doll clothes gives me an excuse to still play with dolls!

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What then started you into embroidery?

Several years ago I was using a Brother sewing/embroidery machine as a back-up machine, but I had never used the embroidery attachment. On a whim, I decided it was about time to see what it could do … and as anyone who has done machine embroidery knows, it didn’t take long to become completely addicted! It was only a matter of months before I outgrew that little Brother machine and upgraded to a Viking embroidery machine so I could do bigger and better things.

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What made you take the plunge into starting your own store?

I love sewing, I love making doll clothes, and if I didn’t sell what I make, or want to make, I’d run out of room to store all my creations. I opened my Etsy shop, SewFunDollClothes, in 2008 to fund my addiction! And I am so grateful that people like my doll clothes enough to keep me sewing full time.

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Where did you first find Urban Threads?

I saw several Etsy sellers using UT designs on baby clothes and thought it would be fun to play with putting some of UT’s designs on my doll clothes. Did a quick Google search, landed on your website. Perfect timing too – it was right when I was starting to prep for Halloween, and there are no better Halloween designs than UT!

My Stitch Witch Halloween outfit did so well, I knew immediately that I would be using Urban Threads designs a lot more from then on.

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What kinds of folks are your customers? Who do you hope to cater to?

I sew for a wide range of customers. When I first started my shop, it was moms and grandmas buying gifts for their daughters who love all things girly. I still love creating the cute girly outfits for them, as that’s where I got my start. There is also a growing number people looking for doll clothes for boy dolls – moms, grandmas buying for their sons’ boy dolls, and adult doll collectors customizing their American Girl dolls into boys.

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Once I started using UT’s designs, I was able to offer gothic, fantasy, and steampunk doll outfits to teen and adult doll collectors adding to their collections. I love the diversity of my customers, I never get bored with just one style.

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What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since you began?

Biggest lesson for me was that, while it can often take me longer to get decent photos than sewing the outfit did, getting good photos is extremely important, especially when presenting outfits for doll collectors. I’m still learning which backgrounds and lighting work the best, how to take a decent close-up, and even which doll model shows off the outfit best. With what I know now, I really wish I could go back and re-take photos of some of the outfits I’ve done in the past!

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Where would you like to see your shop in one year? Any fun stuff planned for the future?

When I started my shop on Etsy, I never could have anticipated where it would be today. It seems to work best when I let my creative whims lead the way! But I’m pretty sure it will include more steampunk, some adventurous outfits for boy dolls, and some UT designs on leather.

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I am just in love will all these little outfits. That steampunk dress and the tiny matching top hat? To die for. Seriously, I wonder if we could briber her into turning these out in slightly larger sizes? It’s always so fun to see someone who gets to turn a passionate hobby into a thriving business. There’s nothing better than doing what you love! Thanks, Cher, for sharing your story with us. If you love her stuff, be sure to visit her super cute Etsy store to see even more.

Do you use Urban Threads designs to create one of a kind products? Want to see your story or your store featured here and join our gang of Urban Entrepreneurs? Send us an e-mail at support@urbanthreads.com with a link to your store/website or attach sample photos, and you could be featured!

 

Costume Contest Finalists

The costumes are in and the entries are incredible. Looking through this gallery has been so much fun, and SO hard to pick our favorite ten. So many of you went above and beyond with stitches and lace, making these designs your own and really going crazy with them. Well, here for you today are your ten finalists, chosen by the UT gang. Please scroll through them all and enjoy the embroidery eye candy, and then vote for your favorite at the poll at the bottom.

Voting is open now until Sunday 11:59pm central time. You have all weekend to vote, so take your time, look em over, and pick your favorite! I know, I know, it’s not an easy task.

So, without further ado, here are your ten…

A gorgeous steampunk costume from Stitch Couture. She used the western Steampunk Raven on the back, designs in the Clockwork Magic series, and a few Clockwork Natura Feathers on the bodice.

Dress for a costume ball by Anke the Wolff, in Holland. She is, aptly, a werewolf, with a baroque wolf design embroidered on the front, and the lace rose choker design repurposed for the cuffs and around the dress. Love.

Winter Elf costume by the always stunning Liddy from Holland. She reused pieces from the lace snowflake crown design for this Russian kokoshnik (headpiece), as well as the costume’s cuffs. “without it, the winter elf costume would not have this ethereal Russian feel to it,” she writes. Gorgeous!

Dana’s stunning steampunk witch costume made with Simplicity pattern 2207. She used the Steam Motif Butterfly multiple times, the Clockwork Magic Raven on the back, and the Cobweb Choker to round out her witchy steampunk ensemble. I’m totally digging the Ghastlies fabric.

Ivy Frozen made this rad anatomical dress for a Haunted Halloween Carnival Dinner meet up. She used the designs from the Anatomy Design pack all around her skirt, and they are just perfection with those tights. How cute is this dress?

A stunning steampunk costume by Mariah, sewn from the same Simplicity 2207 pattern as our steampunk witch! She stitched her dress in blue crepe back satin with the Regal Mini – Fleur de Lis embroidered on the collar, and the Clockwork Magic – Pocket Watch on home-sewn white spats. Tiny Lace Top Hat features matching trim from the skirt and the same buttons used on the spats. Just gorgeous.

Donna created this costume for her son so he could be Ezio from Assassin’s Creed: Revelations. Lots of embroidery on this carefully crafted costume! She used the Celtic Heart in repetition to amazing effect all over the costume, then mixed in some Celtic Majesty Ravens, and the Celtic Cross on the main piece, and the Celtic Majesty Cross on the red cloak.  This, my friends, is how you prove machine embroidery is boss to teenagers.

Pennie’s husband dressed as Edgar Allan Poe, with the Wordy Bird design on the back of the jacket and the Baroque Skull on the cravat. She went as the Raven to match. Fancy!

An excellent dia de los muertos character from yourky, stitched with the Flowerered Skull Border on the tee. Man, that’s a kid who knows how to be a sugar skull.

Finally, this amazing steampunk Tinkerbell costume by Julie. She utilized the Steampunk Gears all over, from on the pouch to used as freestanding designs on the wings. Then she added a Steam Motifs Compass Rose as a finishing touch. Enchanting!

 

There you have it ladies and gents. Get voting! Remember, you only get to vote ONCE. So choose wisely.

*EDIT – Voting is closed! Thanks for taking part. Our winner is Enzo from Assassin’s Creed!*

 

A Very Stitchy Halloween – Final Entries Into The UT Costume Contest!

We’ve come to the close of our second ever Halloween costume contest, and boy, did you guys knock this one out of the park. The entries this year are just mind blowing, so much work into all these costumes! You all, seriously, ROCK!

We will be announcing our ten finalists tomorrow and you will be able to vote on the winner over the weekend, but first take a moment to see ALL the amazing work that went into this years Halloween with the slideshow above. It was a very stitchy Halloween indeed, I hope it was a good one!

(If the slideshow does not appear at first try reloading the page)

Halloween At Urban Threads

Greetings ghouls and gals. I hope you’re up for a spooky Halloween tonight! We LOVE halloween around here at Urban Threads, and the gang couldn’t help but get into the spirit a bit….

If you’re going to have meetings on Halloween, they require giant glowing pumpkins filled with candy…

Our newest artist Danni, dressed as a darling witch!

Check out her slick boots and tights.

Meg, one of our newest digitizers getting spooky.

These may or may not be up all year round. Did I mention we love Halloween?

Teenage mutant ninja artist.

A yogi bear! We like our artists to be flexible to workplace demands.

Which is scarier, the beetlejuice jacket or my chipped nails? Eek!

And of course, Craft Bunny is always a little ham for the camera.

Finally, Steampunk Bacon Cat makes an appearance in pumpkin form! It was bound to happen eventually…

Happy Halloween, from all of us at Urban Threads!