Happy Birthday Beatrix!

Hanging out with Beatrix.
Photo by Lauren Dubois.

Beatrix, our beloved bulldog and Storied Threads’ official mascot, turns eight years old today!

When we were getting ready to buy our house, my husband said he wanted to get a dog. He hadn’t had one since college and really missed being a dog owner. I wasn’t as keen on the idea at first, and I was definitely hesitant to get a big dog like Mike wanted, and then he suggested a middle ground in getting an English bulldog. Again, I wasn’t entirely on-board with it because — and I joke about this now — I thought bulldogs were kind of ugly.

But the more research I did into the breed and the more I learned about their temperament, the more I warmed up to the proposal — and the more I changed my opinion about their looks. I can’t believe I ever thought they were ugly dogs. I think my Beatrix is the most beautiful dog in the world, and I can’t imagine life without her.

We love our girl so much, we’ve used her as a model on a couple of pieces of merchandise, including a Bulldog Lover Geek Merit Badge and a laptop bag.

And guess what? She’ll be with me Saturday when I visit the Connecticut Renaissance Faire! I’ll be there working in the guest author area near The Shady Emporium, so come by and wish Beatrix a happy birthday!


MistyStreamRB1I’m still finding my new stride, and creating new embroidery designs has suffered as a result. But once in a while, something catches my eye, and I take a photograph I feel is worthy of putting up for sale at Redbubble! Today’s new photograph is one I took on my morning walk, of the early mist rising up off of a stream as it ran through the trees. You can find it on clothing, mugs, notebooks, and more in my Redbubble shop.

Click here to shop the new design!

TomServoIt’s been a while since I’ve done any serious sewing or costume designing. So when my husband, Mike, came to me recently with an idea for his outfit for the Connecticut Renaissance Faire, it seemed like a great way to get back into things.

We’re both fans of Mystery Science Theatre 3000, and even recently got to see the live “Watch out for Snakes” tour they did. And yet, when he said, “I want to do a Renaissance Tom Servo!” I couldn’t quite wrap my brain around how that would work at first. Servo is a robot made out of toy parts, a gumball dispenser, and with a hoverskirt in place of legs. How on earth were we going to make that into  an Elizabethan outfit for him to wear while on stage?

TomServoSketchStep one, therefore, was for him to draw me a sketch outlining his idea. And step two, once I knew what his vision was, was to go find some fabric. Once his idea was down on paper, I could see exactly how it would work – the wide epaulettes and puffy pants would actually work perfectly for creating a Servo-esque silhouette in Elizabethan clothes.

Fabric shopping was the next step, and we found some great materials – but my favorite was a shiny gray fabric with wide stripes on it that would work perfectly to evoke Servo’s arms made of Slinkys.

TomServoDoubletWrapSo, I wrapped Mike up in duct tape, like you do, and drew on him all the lines of the pattern I wanted to create for the doublet body. I sketched in where the double row of buttons would go, to mimic Servo’s engine block front, and then OH SO CAREFULLY cut him out of the cast I’d made.

The duct tape got cut out in pieces, and I carefully traced it into a pattern from which I would make the perfect doublet.

At least, that was the theory.

In practice, despite making a muslin mock-up first and doing a fitting and everything, I still managed to get it not quite right.

TomServoDoublet1It’s hard to see in this picture, but the pieces didn’t line up QUITE right in front. Instead of the front edges lying parallel to each other, they overlapped perfectly at the top – and that overlap gradually narrowed as it reached his waist.  Which meant that I could easily place my double row of buttons at the top, but at the bottom, the fabric didn’t line up properly, and my fastenings wouldn’t work.

All the best laid plans (and patterns) of mice and men, yadda yadda yadda.  I spent a little bit of time being annoyed at myself, wondering how I’d managed to get it wrong, and then it was back to work.

TomServoDoublet2Mike and I together did some serious brainstorming about how to fix it, and decided to essentially add a stomacher over the entire front which would be buttoned down over the opening.

I added some hidden snaps that would function as the actual closure, holding it all shut under the stomacher, and the buttons over the top.

And in the end – it actually came out to be a serendipitous accident. The rectangle of extra fabric down the front ended up looking even more like Servo’s engine block than the buttons alone would have. It wasn’t how we’d planned the doublet at the beginning, but the accident improved the design.

And here it is! The final outfit. Complete with white puffy pants with black inset panels and bands to mimic Servo’s hoverskirt, a red flat cap for the top of his gumball dispenser head. I’m really happy with the end result. And, even more importantly, so is Mike.

Our last full set-up at the Connecticut Renaissance Faire, fall 2016.

When Storied Threads first started out more than a decade ago, our first show set-up was at the Connecticut Renaissance Faire, in a wooden stall at the edge of a county fairgrounds.

It’s perhaps appropriate then we’re coming full circle and will have a similar arrangement when we return to CTRF for the last weekend (October 7 – 9) of its six-week run at the Lebanon Fairgrounds in Lebanon, CT!

This is going to be a very special one-time-only appearance for us. We decided last year to stop actively doing conventions and faires and we’re happy with that decision, but we have quite a bit of stock left over from our shows days, including retired designs and convention-only items that aren’t part of our online catalog — and we’re going to be making those items available at CTRF at deeply discounted prices, and once they’re gone we won’t be making more, so this will be your last chance to grab a bow tie, hair bow, or our very last TARDIS Christmas stocking.

But that’s not all! We have a number of bags, scarves, and neckties that are available online, but we’re looking to clear out our closet, so we’re marking those down too, but only for this show! Once we sell out of the on-hand stock we bring to the faire, everything will go back to its full retail list price. In addition, we will have a limited selection of our patches, which will be sold at their regular list price.

So now in addition to the great shows and other awesome vendors, you all have even more reason to come to the faire. Come by, say hi, and maybe do some early holiday gift shopping!

If you’ve been following me on Facebook this week, you’ll notice I’ve been a bit more active than I have in a while. My goal is to make that the beginning of a new trend for us, but first let me backtrack a little.

As you might know, we stopped doing conventions and renaissance faires last year and went to an online-only business model. The shows were becoming too much work for too little income, due in large part to the glut of pop culture cons in the New England market, and we knew that by dropping the shows we’d have to reorganize our household as well as our business. I went back to having a day job earlier this year and my husband followed suit over the summer — a necessary step to make ends meet.

The unforeseen consequences of this move is that we’ve lost a few steps in two important areas: creating new designs and keeping up our online presence.

This entire year has proven a challenge in trying to find Storied Threads’ “new normal” and we’re still figuring that out, and will be for a while yet, but I want to ensure my awesome customers that the business is alive and well and simply in a transition period. Don’t worry; we’re not going anywhere!

Last week we featured our overstock of bow ties (many of which are still available, by the way), and this week’s were continuing the theme — sort of — by spotlighting our available stock of hair bows!

Like the bow ties, there were show-only items, and now that we’re done with shows, we have some leftovers we need to find good homes for. This is a perfect gift for a young geek girl, or a young-at-heart geek woman, and we’re letting them go for just $5 — a third of their original price (plus shipping, of course).

Here’s what we have left, so if you’d like one, contact me at veronica@storiedthreads.com and we’ll set up a private transaction via PayPal. If we have any given design with both metal and plastic headbands, please let me know which one you’d prefer, or we’ll pick at random. We’ll even throw in a random pin from our collection of overstock pins as a bonus gift!

This is first come, first served, and when we run out we won’t be replacing them, so act now!

  • One chibi Nick Fury (plastic headband)
  • Two SHIELD logo (plastic headbands)
  • Two Marvel logo (plastic headbands)
  • Two Firefly logo (plastic headbands)
  • Two Deadpool logo (metal headbands)
  • Three Marvel character heads (metal headbands)
  • Seven Star Trek engineering/security (four plastic, three metal headbands)
  • Eight Star Trek science (metal headbands)

Every six months or so, we go through our sales records and our inventory, looking for items that may have exhausted their lifespan with our customers. That chore has taken on a different meaning as we are no longer doing shows, which means any inventory we happen to have on-hand becomes harder to sell off.

So over the coming weeks we’ll be spotlighting some of our surplus discontinued items, and this week we’re featuring three bowtie designs. These were show-only items, and we found a small cache of them in our bins, still bagged up and ready to go.

We currently have one Star Trek bowtie in science department blue, four Star Trek ties in engineering/security red, and nine Superman bowties. We sold these at shows for $17, but we’re offering this very limited stock to you for $10 each (plus shipping).

If you want to grab one, e-mail me at veronica@storiedthreads.com and we’ll set up a private transaction through PayPal.