Tag Archives: vintage

Carmen Hävago

2 Mar

My doll enterprise continues, today with the emergence of international secret agent Carmen Hävago.

Carmen HävagoCarmen masquerades as a dumb blonde with an ass which won’t quit, but unsuspecting suitors beware. Miss Hävago has a dagger in her garter-belt and a glint in her eye. Specialising in extraction of information through her hypnotic gaze, when Carmen looks at you there’s no mistaking that she means business.

Carmen HävagoCarmen Hävago

Carmen Hävago

Carmen HävagoI’m pretty chuffed with how this little lady came out, and technically she is much more sturdy than the prototype in the last post. I do however feel that I’m still exploring the idea of dolls rather than monsters and am finding that I’m sewing blindly without much of plan instead of sketching a design to work from. To try to solve this problem I’m going to work on a little collection of dolls on a theme to get into the swing of things. More on that another time…

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My Dolly Daydream Comes to Fruition

22 Feb

I’ve been promising a change of direction for some time now, and after a few false starts I’m finally ready to unveil my latest work.

For a while I’ve been feeling that even the name ‘Mistress of Monsters’ tends to push me towards a certain type of creation, and that I want to break out of the pigeon-hole I’ve created for myself. I love monsters and cute fluffyness, but I also love vintage fashion, pin-up glamour and all things cheeky and feminine. Besides this, I’ve wanted to work in some of the new skills I’ve developed over my three years of monster-making. It just wasn’t possible to incorporate that into my work given my back catalogue.

I was massively inspired by a pair of character dolls in my parents display cabinet which caught my eye when I was home at Christmas, and from these I’ve managed to develop a new signature shape. It’s going to take some refining and perfecting, but take a look at the first in my new line of creations.

New Doll

New Doll

So I’ve (hopefully) kept it recognisable as my signature style, but gone for a new shape in the ‘big head, small body’ kind of thing. I’ve used needle-felting to create her a little hairdo, and dressed her up in a saucy little outfit and matching jewellery. Once that was done, she was ready for her close-up!

New DollHer neck is a bit floppy so I need to work on strengthening that up, and I’m aware that as a first attempt at something new, there are a few things I could do better next time round, but now that I’ve completed one, I’m bursting with ideas for the next.

You might find over the next little while that the blog might go through a little bit of re-branding, I don’t know if I can keep the name ‘Mistress of Monsters’ as I move forwards with my more doll-like creations, but rest assured you will be the first to know if anything changes!

 

 

 

 

‘The Dress’

18 Oct

It’s the post you’ve all been waiting for. The tale of my attempt to create my own wedding dress.

When we first started planning the wedding I couldn’t imagine myself in a bridal gown. I was never one of these girls who dreams of  her big day or walks around in her mum’s high heels with a pillowcase veil pretending to be a bride. It’s just not me, so I had to do it my way. I relished the idea of turning my wedding dress into a work of art so I could walk down the aisle with pride. Originally I had planned to make it from scratch but I’m soooooo glad that I abandoned that foolish idea before I started!

To get the ball rolling I went to try on a few off-the-peg dresses. Having never worn anything like a wedding dress, it was impossible to know what I wanted. I had a vague idea of a prom style dress but didn’t want to rule anything out. I nearly fell for this gorgeous little number…

…but after flouncing around like a princess for a good half-hour, I had to relinquish the gown as it would not have mixed well with roller skates and bowling. Instead I had a go with the prom style dress I had imagined, and I was sold.

I did learn from dress number one that I love a bit of bling, and armed with that information I set about finding a base at which to throw as much sparkle as I could muster.

I found what I was looking for at Honeypie Boutique, an online wedding dress supplier with a healthy selection of vintage inspired dresses, all with glamorous names like Audrey, Lauren and Greta. I chose Grace, a simple satin bodice with sweetheart neckline atop layer upon layer of tulle skirts. I was a little worried as there were very few reviews I could find on wedding forums but I took a chance, placed my order, and was very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the dress for the price. This was it in its virgin state.

Not bad on its own, but a perfect blank canvas for a crafty bride-to-be. As it turns out, a little too blank. The endless possibilities proved a little daunting and I needed some inspiration. A great excuse to recruit Mummy Monster and pop to London for the day. The dress collection at the V&A and the gorgeous fabric shops of Berwick street left us positively drooling with excitement. On the train home I sketched idea after idea, eventually deciding that sometimes less is more and settled on something like this

With my love of buttons and the wealth of pretty buttony goodness available on the internet, I couldn’t resist taking a little pearly queen turn with the project. Mr Monster began to get a little suspicious as packets of buttons kept dropping into our post box. I wanted to give the skirt a bit of sparkle so set about sewing them onto the skirts. What I hadn’t anticipated though was that they would all have to be sewn on individually to prevent the thread showing through the tulle. I wish I had counted how many I used, but I reckon it was a couple of hundred, all tied on and tied off individually by hand. And so the embellishment began…
As with all projects, naturally I got to that point where I stood back and thought “I don’t like it”. I think the enormity of the importance of the project started to get to me as well as a touch of crafters self-doubt. Thanks to the patience and support of a few friends, and of course my mum, I was able to bounce ideas around and eventually feel a bit happier about what I’d done. It all came together one evening when I was playing around with the idea of using some vintage lace around the waist. I needed my hands free to do something else so hung the length of lace around my neck briefly, caught sight of it in the mirror, and BAM! The lace halter-neck was born! Funny how things work out sometimes. All it needed to top it off was a waistband with a cute feature bow, and of course a few more buttons.

By the time I was finished (less than a week before the wedding, last-minute-Larry indeed), I was in love with my dress and felt like a fairy princess when I tried it on for the first time. What’s more, when Mr Monster saw me coming down the aisle, he loved it too. Mission accomplished.

So without further ado, let’s have a look at my dress in detail, starting with a shot from the day which gives you a glimpse of my handmade felt bouquet.

And a few of the dress in all it’s glory.


Monster Mistress on a Mission

15 Oct

Now that the wedding extravaganza is over, I can begin to focus on my beloved monsters again. Tomorrow is my last day of holiday before I go back to work so I will be up bright and early to get my craft room sorted (it currently looks like an explosion in a bridal shop) and get crafting.

We used purple gingham fabric to cover the tables at our reception venue and I have tonnes of the stuff left, so I’m planning to incorporate that into a few creations. I have a deep love of the 1940’s and 50’s which is beginning to permeate my life and is finding its way into my hair, make-up and style of dress. I love victory rolls, girdled waists and a slick of red lipstick. I had great fun last summer cooking up my 40’s inspired bathing beauty Veronica Flipperstone, complete with polka dot swimsuit and floral swimcap.

I’m thinking of adapting her design into an Elvgren-esque pin-up girl with a saucy gingham outfit, perhaps teamed with a pair of roller skates.

Of course christmas is coming up to so I can’t resist a few sparkly festive monsters too. I entirely expect to be covered in glitter well into 2013. I’ve been doing a bit of sketching this evening to get myself prepared. I’m excited!

ROAR! – Issue Two of Lionheart Magazine

2 Jul

A delightful little parcel dropped onto my mat today. My copy of the second issue of the wonderful publication, Lionheart. For anyone who has been longing for a magazine which speaks of the existence we strive for, of vintage style, yummy food, art for art’s sake, and of living a full and round life, this is for you. I’m dead excited to sit down with a cup of tea tomorrow and read it cover to cover.

I’m included in this issue, the theme of which is ‘warmth’. I wrote about the cosy haven which is my craft room, and the solace I find in monstering. You can pick up a copy on the Lionheart website, and also at any of the outlets listed here. Perfect rainy day reading.