Beads, Glorious Beads

The above is a wonderful link to a chat site that has a bunch of tutorials. My house is full of inspiration, I love picking up books loaded with bead pictures. I pour over the different designs and methods for hours, days, years. Always wondering- how’d they do that? I then sit for hours over my hothead torch, trying to replicate the designs I have seen. Some seem so hard, and end up being incredibly simple. Others are infuriatingly complicated!

I believe in the concept of “figure it out on your own”. I believe that it inspires innovation and convergent techniques. But I also believe in extending a little helping hand every once in a while. Over the last couple years I have graduated into a multitude of designs, each one can be considered a wonderful mistake. I have found that Ivory delightfully reacts with many different colors. I have found that True Black will sometimes react and create a malachite look. I have also found that when told: “you can’t do that on a hothead”, you can.

Unfortunately I have also found that other “bead masters” can be incredibly stingy about their knowledge. Mistakenly thinking that someone else can replicate their work. As if any bead can be replicated, this is glass people!

That is why I really like the website posted above, there are pages and pages of FREE tutorials, mixed in with tips.

Now if you want to pay, through the nose too, for tutorials, there are lots and lots of artists out there that think that techniques are unique to them. But I have found through time and experience, the beauty that you are inspired by can be replicated, given a little time and willingness to experiment.

In time I hope to write out a few tips for the budding lampwork enthusiast, I have to get the camera shots down first! Otherwise, if you have any questions, feel free to post and I will answer them as best I can. And if I can’t I will point you in the right direction.

Fitting your Body Form

I don’t know how many women out there can actually use the standard body form; XL, L, M, (and for the rare few) S. As soon as I pulled mine out of the package, I realized that no matter how I adjusted the internal nobs, I just was not going to get a physical representation of my body! Every time I adjusted the bust to the correct size the waist and back measurements were way, way too large.
So originally, to correct this issue, I dialed the internal nobs to my rib and waist measurements and added a sports-bra with fiber fill to represent the bust. To bad I did not take a picture of that set up, it worked for a little over two years… it worked nicely as a dust collector. Unfortunately it did not help with my sewing skills, but it did help when Halloween rolled around.
Recently I was watching an episode of the “Fashion Show”, one where the contestants had to sew an outfit for an “average” sized woman. You know- a size 10-16. A normal woman. The contestants took fiber blanket, shoulder pads, and muslin to help fill out their body forms to their models sizes. That is when I got the bright idea of fitting my body block to my body form, and filling out the problem areas with foam. This would allow me not only to have my true silhouette, but would also be easy to pin to without the fiber breaking down.
I first cut out my body block in heavyweight muslin, making extra sure to sew along all the delineated lines. I kept the neck line and arms eye at working circumference, so I could use that as reference when designing tops. I also kept the true waist line so I could tell the tilt of my torso… I do have mild scoliosis (you can kind of see the line difference in this picture). I then hand sewed the back seam, working from top to bottom, pulling the fabric taught without pulling the stitches. I then cut foam padding to fit the base of my bust, the width of the under wire. I cut a second piece of foam to fill out the fullness of the breast, fitting the entirety over the existing base bust. Luckily I did not have to add a third layer, but it could be continued in order to fill out a larger bust.
Now my body form looks very voluptuous, heehee. I wanted to test to see if the form was a true fit… or would just become another dust collector. I went to my closet and picked out a shirt that fit me well, and placed it on the body form. Viola! It fit perfectly!
I wanted to share this with all you seamstresses out there, working with standardized or second hand equipment. Showing that with very little work and a little ingenuity, you can definitely make something that works for you (or your client).
Happy sewing!