Archive for August, 2011

There are a lot of things I love. My husband, of course. Books. Ice cream. Doctor Who. The list could go on for a really long time. But the thing I love that is actually relevant right now is animals.

Beatrix modeling a RESCUE bandana.

We have four cats and a dog. While my dog (Beatrix, featured regularly here) was purchased from a breeder, all four of our cats were rescues. I’m a big supporter of rescue organizations, and have a lot of respect for the people who do those jobs, making the world a better place for countless cats and dogs.

When Urban Threads unveiled their new “RESCUE” design, I decided to put it on some bandanas, and donate the profits of these sales to a local no-kill animal shelter, the Animal Rescue League of Fall River.  Please feel free to head over to my Etsy shop, and help me help my local animals.

How can you say no to this face?


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New designs!

We’ve been really busy at Storied Threads lately, getting a bunch of new designs and new items ready for sale.  I finally managed to have a brief photo shoot yesterday, and get pictures so I could share them all with you!

First, remember a few weeks ago, I had that bad night and got over it by having a totally creative night, working on a new design that had been in my head for a while? Well, here it is!

Steampunk Belt Pouch

Close-up of the new belt pouch
















This is my new Steampunk Belt Pouch. (Which needs a MUCH better name for that, before I create the website page for it next week. Any ideas?) It’s a belt of cotton webbing which has half a dozen leather-and-d-ring straps at one end, and a simple buckle at the other. (This particular buckle is a vintage slide style buckle that I picked up at a flea market a while ago — I have three or four more of them to use, and then I’ll have to find something else.)  The bag itself is a nice, wide shape that wraps along the hip, and attaches to those D-rings by means of a couple of large trigger clasps.  The nifty thing here is that it means you can arrange it wherever and however you like along those d-rings, moving it more forward or backward, moving the ends farther apart or closer together.  The bag itself is embroidered, and fastens by means of a couple of leather straps through paired d-rings at the bottom.

Clementine Skirt

Next up is the Clementine skirt.  The Clementine is a sort of Steampunk version of my Pick-Up Skirt.  (And is named in homage to the Clockwork Century books by Cherie Priest.) This is another design that has been in my head for a while, and I figured that as long as I was getting one steampunk idea out of my head, I might as well do the other as well. It has twice as much fabric as the regular pick-up, giving it an extra wide hemline. It has rings and claps embedded in the seams at four points, giving a great deal of variety to the way it can be worn. Here are two variations, picked up straight at the four points, and bustled around to the back. You can have so much fun with this, catching it up in different configurations, being neat or messy about it, depending on the character you are portraying.

Clementine, bustled around to the back

Clementine, picked up straight at the four points.

















And now for something completely different! How about a little Middle Eastern / Bellydance inspired stuff?















I first made these Harem Pants to go with a dress-length jacket I picked up from Silver Thistle Frazzled Knot.  I wanted something light and airy and comfortable, and (as so often happens) it wasn’t until I wanted them that I realized other people might like them, too! I knew I had to take pictures of them for the website at that point — and realized I had nothing appropriate to couple them with for the photo shoot.  So, after making a couple of pairs of pants for stock one day, I started work on this jacket (henceforth to be known as the Jasmine Jacket).  My husband came up to the studio when it was about half finished, and when I told him what I was working on, he looked dubious.

“Just to play devil’s advocate,” he said, “shouldn’t you be focusing on building stock and finishing commissions right now?”

“Trust me,” I replied.

I finished the jacket the next day while he was out, and when he got home, I tried it on for him. And when I came out of the bedroom, his jaw hit the floor. (And I don’t need to tell ANY of you how good that feels!) He said, “So….you’re adding those to the Storied Threads line, right?” And so I am.

Steampunk Military Insignia in action!

And finally, last but not least — the final unveiling of the Steampunk Military Insignia! You’ve seen the scans before, so just one picture for now — I stitched the final patches (perfected based on the feedback you gave me) onto my awesome jacket from Chrononaut Mercantile, so that they could be seen in context. Not too shabby, eh?

These patches are now available in my Etsy shop, just so you know. The rest will be available via the website by sometime next week!

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My husband and I both felt inspired a while back by Urban ThreadsZombie Survival pattern. We felt there was a lot of potential in the concept for other sort of geeky merit badges, but so far only two others have been brought to life — the Vampire Hunter and the Robot Killer. We had a lot of ideas, but some of them just didn’t work when we tried to design them, or didn’t grab my attention as completely, and the project got put on hold while I worked on other stuff.

Yesterday, Mike pointed me in the direction of a Cracked article entitled “Six Weird Fashions From History (With Weirder Explanations)“. It talked about periwigs, and pale, chubby Pre-Raphaelite women as the female ideal, and Samurai ponytails.

And plague doctors.

See, in the middle ages, they didn’t know how disease was communicated. Their best guess was that the plague was transmitted by bad smell, and so the plague doctors wore these masks with long noses stuffed with roses and orange and other fragrant things to try to keep the disease at bay.  They looked like creepy bird masks, and they’re sort of steampunk and they’re sort of goth and they’re entirely based in factual history, and I became utterly enamored. Plague masks! I wanted to do something with this, but I wasn’t sure what. I can’t make an actual mask — I’m not a leather worker, and it’s simply outside of my skill set. (Although I still think maybe I could do something with the lace bird masks in this vein…I just need to let that idea sit in the back of my head for a while until it becomes more solid.)

I mentioned my desire to Mike, and he said, “Make a merit badge patch! ‘Plague Survivor’!”

And I said, “Brilliant!”

And so I did. And here it is.

Prototype Plague Survivor Patch

This is the prototype, and like all prototypes, I think it needs a little bit of work. But the work it needs is in the nit-picky sort of areas that probably stand out more to me than to you.  It isn’t up on Etsy yet, since I’ll wait until I’ve done those fixes and re-scanned it before listing it. But overall — I’m pretty pleased.

And it just goes to show that inspiration is never where you expect it to be. Who knew that a random Cracked article would leave me inspired not only for my next patch, but about doing something with plague masks in general?

Always keep your mind open.

I don’t know who’s artwork this is, but if you do, tell me! Not only do I want to credit properly, but I want to buy a print. I LOVE this piece.


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I’ve noticed that there is a distinct military or military-esque element that can be found within the steampunk community. Many people are airship captains, or design outfits that draw on Victorian-era military uniforms.  Groups of people will even join together to create a crew, with each person having a rank within their organization. In fact, my Dirigible patch was originally a commission from a group like this — they wanted something they could put on their outfits to mark them as part of a cohesive crew. Since then, I’ve sold quite a lot of these patches, as well as the steampunk octopus (or Clocktopus, as my husband calls it) and others.

Recently, Mike had an idea to take this idea one step further. Why not design patches that could be added to the Dirigible or the Clocktopus, that would designate a rank? We drew on modern military concepts, and came up with a design that one of us thinks is perfect, and one of us thinks is almost perfect.

The version I’ve posted here is what we would consider insignia for an Admiral (if you are sea-faring) or a General (if you are air-faring).  The patches come in a top and bottom design, and could feature zero, one, two, or three cogs each — the combinations of which allow for a full roster of crew. Which, yes, we have actually worked out in detail.  (I would post it here, but I can’t figure out how to re-create the little symbols we used on our handwritten chart digitally, alas.)

As you can see, the insignia patches are nicely colored to go with this Dirigible — the idea is that if somebody has a rank associated with their steampunk persona, they could order the main patch and appropriate rank insignia all in one order, and I would make them to match, in whatever colors the person wanted. They could be done for a single person, or for an entire crew, adding a very nice personalized touch to a military type ensemble.

There is one small bit, though, where I need feedback from all of you.  Mike and I are split on our opinion of one element. As you can see, the top bar has very small cogs on the outside, so as to allow them to fit in the smaller space. On the bottom, the side cogs are a bit larger (only a little smaller than the center cog), so as to allow them to fill the same amount of space as the other cogs do. So, what do you all think? Should the cogs all fill the same amount of space, as they do here? Or does it look odd, with the top cogs being so much smaller than the bottom? The bottom cogs could easily be made the same size as the top ones, but then there would be quite a bit more “white space” around them.  Both opinions have their merits, but with a pool of only two opinions (mine and Mike’s) we can’t decide which version should be used for the final design. What do you think?


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