Sunday, March 9, 2014

Make Your Own Vintage Buttons

This button broke! It goes on one of my favorite shrugs.
You know, there are very few things in sewing that make me really, really sad. Running across a beautiful vintage button and needing eight when there is only one is definitely a major depression bringer. The other is losing/breaking a specialty button on one of my favorite clothing pieces. Luckily I have figured out how to remedy BOTH problems!
I discovered this method for making your own buttons through some trial and error as well as some internet research. If you want to post it elsewhere, please feel free to share the love- just link back to my blog.

Materials List:

  • Button you want to copy, charm to make into buttons or idea of button you want to make
  • Cornstarch
  • Plastic or metal bowl
  • 100% silicone (must be 100%!) caulk
  • Caulk gun
  • Sculpey clay (or other bake-able type clay)
  • Fondant roller (small is great-$6 at Walmart in cake decorating section)
  • Plastic placemat (or other item to shield your table...placemats are cheap and reusable)
  • Sculpey mini cutters (if you so desire, I find them helpful for basic button shapes)
  • Toothpicks
  • Gloss or matte acrylic spray (I prefer gloss)
  • Jump rings (Jewelry section. These are optional for shank buttons)
Buttons/items for molding

More materials

For basic geometric shaped buttons, work some clay in your fingers. Roll out to whatever thickness you want. Cut shapes. layer is desired. Poke holes in them using toothpicks. Then bake at 275F for 15 minutes for every 1/4" thickness.


Layered Shapes
Toothpick Holes

Now, for molded buttons:
First, get your work area set up. Lay down the placemat, get your caulk in the gun, put cornstarch (a few inches deep or so) into the bowl, and lay out your other materials so they are easily accessible. Next place a glob of silicone into the cornstarch. how much you put depends on how many buttons you are molding and how big they are. Use your best judgement.
Silicone in Cornstarch

Next work the cornstarch into the silicone until it is no longer sticky but still workable. It will feel sort of like warm clay.
Worked Silicone

Flatten it slightly on your placemat. It should be thick enough to handle your buttons and not have them poke through on the bottom but not so think that it doesn't set. 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch seems to work just fine for most buttons.

Press your button into the slab and leave it to set for 90 minutes.
When the time is up gently peel the mold off of the button.
Completed Mold
I usually test my molds with some play-dough.
Testing, testing...
Now, you are ready to mold! I prefer using the Premo! Sculpey. It tends to be less soft than regular Sculpey and holds the mold better without getting stuck in the mold. Press the Sculpey into the mold firmly. Add a jump ring on the back for a shank. Otherwise, you can lay down a piece of toothpick and mold a clay shank. If you don't want a shank, just gently unmold and use toothpicks to create holes.
Molding with Jump ring

Molding with toothpick

You can also add jewels. Just mold as normal and very gently press the jewels where you want them.
Molded version with Original

Then bake at 275F for 10-15 minutes per 1/4" thickness. Watch them carefully so you don't overbake them!
You can then paint them with acrylic paints. Then spray them with the sealant, let dry and they are ready to go!

Good luck with your buttons! Hope you found this tutorial helpful!

Monday, February 10, 2014

A Next Project Preview

1932 Ladies' Street Dress Pattern, size 44" bustOk Kids! Short post today as I feel like poo but have made myself promise to update my blog with each project I do. I'm starting work on a 1932 day dress turned evening dress. The pattern will be the Eva frock from Patterns of Time! I love, love, love the look of this dress (yes, it's connected. It looks like two pieces but is actually one!) and i can actually wear it with a belt which means my curvy frame won't look awful in it as it does with most "shift" type dresses. Whoo!  
Anyway, I went through a lot of hmming and hawing about what type of fabric I wanted to make this is and what colors/patterns. I wanted it to be very elegant and evening wear slanted as I am going to be wearing it to Cabaret on Broadway in April when I go to NYC with my hubby. Initially I looked for a plaid but decided against it. Then I decided on satin as the fabric type which gave me the desired texture. However, I had a hell of a time with colors/additional textures. I seemed to have gotten stuck on this idea of it needing more texture. So I was trying all sorts of overlays (think sheer sequins and fringe and the like) out in the fabric store. Ended up liking none of them. so I decided on an ivory satin for the "blouse" portion and a black satin for the skirt. Going to do the short sleeved version with a black bow to match the skirt. Will try to keep better track of my "in progress" work so I have better photos than most of my projects end up having. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Fearless February Sew Along: Le Smoking Jacket

Hello all!
This month I decided to do the fearless February sew along over at

For this challenge, I decided to take on a project that I've been putting off for a year.....a smoking jacket for my husband out of brocade made from the Le Smoking Jacket pattern.

I was terrified of doing this jacket for a few reasons:
1) I'd seen several people comment that this pattern is hard to follow.
2)It was going to be made out of brocade! Very slippery and always makes me swear for one reason or another.
3)I would have to alter the pattern a little to fit my husband's broad chest.
4)My husband really, really, REALLY wanted this jacket. This terrified me because I really didn't want to screw it up and have him disappointed.

But, in the spirit of the sew along I broke out the fabric and pattern that I had stashed in the closet and started working on it. It just so happened that I got sick right around that time so it got completed very quickly because all I did was stay in the house and sew.

First I cut the pattern. I will say thank God I know what pieces I need for things as this was the most unclear part of the whole pattern. As always, I had a bit of trouble with the brocade moving while cutting but wasn't too bad.

This is what the fabric looks like that I ended up working with.

All through the sewing, the only real trouble spot I ran into was the sleeves. they just didn't want to lay right for me. UGH! But, eventually, through much swearing, I got them to lay well enough.

The lapel was also a bit difficult to get to stay in place but that was nothing a few stay stitches here and there couldn't fix!!

Anyway, all said and done I was very happy with it and, best of all, my husband LOVED it! See his modeling pictures below. I'm very glad I decided to participate and tackle this project that has been haunting me for over a year!! What a relief! Let me know what you think!!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Birchbox vs Ipsy Round 4 (August)

It's round 4 and everything is still tied up. Let's see if we can break it this go around.

Background: Ipsy is a monthly make-up subscription that focuses on make-up. Birchbox is a beauty subscription that focuses on high end beauty products and sometimes make-up.

On to the show!

Ipsy: There were a lot of combos available so I'm not going to list them all. I got: Urban Decay lipstick in 69, Pixi Beauty Lash Booster Mascara, Smashbox Photo Finish Primer, MicaBeauty eyeshadow in Bronze, and the Michael Todd pumpkin nutrient mask. The only substitution I would have made in my dream box would be to get the nail polish instead of the primer. Plus a cute purple bag with crests on it.

The Good:

Urban Decay: LOVE this lipstick. So much so that I went and bought "Shame" which is a dark burgundy/plum color (FINALLY FOUND ONE!!) Decent staying power with good application and a plethora of colors. This one is a win.

Michael Todd- Love masks first off. Secondly, pumpkin=awesome. All around good mask.

MicaBeauty- Nice eyeshadow. Nothing outrageously different from other good eyeshadows but the color is a good one.

The O.K.:

Pixi- It's a mascara. I use Benefit's "They're Real" (the best mascara ever in existence in my opinion) regularly so it's hard to compete.

The Bad:

Smashbox- I hate all over primer. I have decently good skin so only need the lightest of mineral foundations so this was a big miss for me.

Birchbox: I received a set of Birchbox Bobby Pins, Dr. Jart Beauty Balm, Number 4 Super comb Prep and Protect, ModelCo Party Proof lipstick, and OC8 Mattifying Gel.

The Good:

Bobby Pins- These things are amazing. They made the box worthwhile. They hold great and look cute too. I only need one to pin back all of my long bangs. I like them so much I put myself on the waitlist to buy more.

The O.K.:

Comb and Protect- I used it on my bangs (the only part that tangles) and it was ok. Nothing to write home about.

ModelCo- The shade was nice and application was smooth but had zero staying power. Completely confusing considering it's called "Party proof."

The Bad:

Dr. Jart- The sunscreen aspect is nice but otherwise has zero appeal to me.

OC8- What is with all these face things? This held no appeal for me. I don't generally get very shiny and usually put on shimmer anyway.

Verdict: OMG! Ipsy won! We've finally broken the tie!! IPSY 1 BIRCHBOX 0

If you want to join ipsy here's a link: Join IPSY
If you want to join Birchbox go here: Join BIRCHBOX

Birchbox vs. Ipsy Round 3 (July Review)

It's round 3 and everything is still tied up. Let's see if we can break it this go around.

Background: Ipsy is a monthly make-up subscription that focuses on make-up. Birchbox is a beauty subscription that focuses on high end beauty products and sometimes make-up.

On to the show!

In my Ipsy bag I got: POP Beauty lip crayon in Rose (traded for Coral), Benetint in rose, COOLA unscented SPF 20 moisturizer, BH Cosmetics California Collection palette, and Sexy Hair Soy Renewal. Also comes with a pink see-through vinyl bag. Sorry pics this time as work is taking over my life.

There were quite a few combos available for this month. Benetint, POP Beauty lip crayon, 2 kinds of COOLA, eyeshadow, scrub, perfume, nail polish, humidity resistance spray for hair and soy renewal for hair. My ideal bag (choosing 5 items) probably would have been: eyeshadow, Benetint, Pop Color, nail polish, and either the renewal or the scrub. Well, I got pretty damn close.

The Good:

POP Beauty Crayon- Didn't like the color I got so traded for coral and LOVE it. Fairly good staying power and good color.

BH cosmetics- This palette is really nice. Good colors. Nice little package.

The OK:

COOLA- A nice sunscreen is always good if a bit boring

Benetint: The stain is nice but if you accidentally lick your lips beware! It tastes AWFUL!

The Bad:

Sexy Hair- I don't use hair products very much. My hair is very low care intensive so this was a miss for me.

In my Birchbox I got: Kerastase Bain Chroma Riche Cleanse, a Kerastase Masque Chroma Riche Treat, WEI pomegranate buffing beads, WEI golden root purifying mud mask, DDF acne control, and Pur Minerals CC Cream Broad Spectrum with SPF 40.

Not gonna lie....when I initially saw the contents of my box online I was kinda bummed. Especially since there was some other stuff that looked awesome (including make-up). Then I started reading through the descriptions. The shampoo and conditioner are for color treated hair and are super high end. I dye my hair colors in unnatural shades. So, ok, point for Birchbox: that could be really helpful. I always love an exfoliate (buffing beads) and masks are always nice when you've had mining slurry splashed on your face and really don't want it sitting deep in your pores anymore. So more points for Birchbox. CC cream and the acne treatment were the only I was apprehensive about before getting my box (after reading the descriptions....I'm calling that knee jerk reactions don't count). Plus then I noticed I get 6 items! SIX! Go me! See how everything panned out below.

The Good:

Keratase- these are very nice and high end. Too pricey for me to buy normally they were a nice treat.

WEI- These are also nice and high end but too pricey for me to buy normally. Perfect for an in-home spa day.

The OK:

DDF- This acne control was ok for me. It seems like it works alright but I have been blessed with nice skin so rarely have acne problems....just the occasional breakout.

The Bad:

CC Cream- I almost never use CC cream and this stuff was nothing special.

Verdict: TIE again. Eventually I'm sure one will win.

If you want to join ipsy here's a link: Join IPSY

If you want to join Birchbox go here: Join BIRCHBOX