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Butterfly Catcher’s Net

    You will need:
  • Heavy gauge wire
  • 1.5 yards of tulle or other “net” fabric
  • 4′ wooden dowel, approx 3/4 inch diameter
  • Twine – I used the hemp kind you get at a garden store
  • Packing tape
  • Pliers
  • Wire cutters
  • Basic sewing supplies
  • I am the very busy mom of two very young and spunky girls. So, my apologies for not publishing this before Halloween, but I’m lucky I got all my sewing done in time. This was the first year since having children that I attempted to make costumes for the whole family. My 4 year old chose butterflies. So she and I dressed as the afore-mentioned winged insect while my 1 year old went as a caterpillar, and my husband, naturally, was a butterfly catcher.
    I searched the interwebs for one of those fabulous huge nets, but the cheapest one I found was over $30. Not in the budget, I’m afraid. So, in my abundant spare time, I decided to make one. I had most of the supplies and tools I required, all I needed was a nice wooden dowel and some tulle.
    Off to the fabric and hardware stores I went, and $5 later, I was ready to begin. I bought 1.5 yards of tulle which gave me a roughly 54″ by 54″ square. I folded it in half, cut off one corner at a 45 degree angle and stitched it closed on the long side. I have a serger so I used that. A normal straight stitch would work fine too.
    I now had, essentially, a tulle bag. I folded the edge of the opening over about 1″ and stitched along it to create the pocket for the wire frame of the net. I had some heavy gauge wire leftover from a previous project and I used it to create the frame for the net. It’s important to take the time to get the exact shape you want at this stage because once you get the bag on, it’ll be nearly impossible to make substantive changes. Remember that our tulle bag has a circumference of approximately 54″ so you want to cut the wire with plenty to spare for the tang (ooh! S.A.T. word of the day! Is it still called the S.A.T.?) Once you’ve got the shape you want, before bending both ends of the wire to create the tang, thread the wire through the bag’s pocket. This way you can make sure the tulle fits the frame snugly. A pair of pliers is helpful in turning that right angle from the circle to the tang. I also found that putting another 90 degree bend in the wire at the bottom of the tang (perpendicular to the circle) helped keep the frame from twisting and becoming unstable (see photo on left). Once I got my net threaded and the wire bent to create the tang, it was time to attach it all to the dowel. I used a piece of packing tape to hold it all together and then wrapped hemp twine around it to make it secure and give it a more finished look. I started with a standard slip knot so that I could get it really tight and then, maintaining a very firm pressure, wrapped the twine around in a single, snug layer until I got to the end of the tang and then continued wrapping back up to the top. I used the tail from the slip knot to tie the end of my twine to. Trim the excess twine (but don’t get too close to the knot or it’ll come undone!) And, voila! We’re done! Time to go catch yourself some GIGANTIC butterflies!

    Tutorials

    Some fun tutorials I’ve tried lately:
    The Lola Headband Tutorial from Two Little Bugs Clothing is a short and easy to follow tutorial on how to make a variation of those yummy flower headbands (or barrettes) we’ve been seeing all over the place for mad amounts of money. And if you’re sewing-phobic, don’t worry, this project requires absolutely no needles or thread, just scissors and glue.

    The next one is for the plush pumpkins that are so ubiquitous this year. If you missed this one, here’s a really nice tutorial from New House, New Home, New Life. She buys 1/2 meters of fabric, but I’m sure you’ll be fine if you buy half yards ;). These are so easy to make that they’d be a great sewing project for kids and beginning sewers. The hardest part is getting the real pumpkin stems. If you can’t find real ones you can always make them from pipe cleaners or paper maché.

    Edit: if you have trouble finding fold-over elastic locally, www.SewzannesFabrics.com has a great selection of colors.

    If you live in the Bay Area and love costumes, you must get yourself to the Vintage Fashion Expo. I am so sad to miss it as there are sure to be some truly drool-worthy togs in every size, style, and price range.

    Website blurb: “Dealers from across the country will be presenting vintage clothing for men and women. Women’s hats, shoes, dresses, costume and estate jewelry. Vintage eye wear. Men’s suits, shoes, shirts, watches, ties and more.”

    The details:
    September 22nd and 23rd
    Concourse Exhibition Center, 8th Street and Brannan, San Francisco, CA
    Show hours are:
    Sat. Early Buy 9:00am-10:30am. Regular Admission 10:30am-6:00pm.
    Sun. Regular Admission 11:00am-5:00pm.
    FREE entrance on Sun. with Sat. ticket purchase. Students free on Sun. with student ID.
    Early Buy Admission is $20.00. Regular Admission is $10.00.
    VintageExpo.com

    For a limited time, get 50% off Super Sale bras at BreakoutBras.com. Enter “SuperSale” in the coupon field.

    Breakout Bras is my all time favorite place to shop for bras. They have an excellent selection in both styles and sizes. They carry a large variety of bras from the UK which, as you may know, boast a much vaster array of cup/chest circumference combinations than do US companies. They always provide free shipping and their prices are incredibly competitive. Plus, if you get on their mailing list, you get notified of their frequent sales. They also carry undies, cute nursing bras, and bra-size-specific swimwear.

    Dark Garden’s Rummage Sale
    www.DarkGarden.com
    Sunday
    July 17th
    11 – 5pm
    321 Linden St., (between Octavia & Gough)
    San Francisco, Ca

    Dark Garden’s Rummage Sale is a sight to be seen. Store-wide clearances of off the floor Ready-To-Wear corsets, clothing, fabric remnants, costume pieces, and Custom Corset orders.

    Best of all, this is the only time they sell Custom Corsets from their archive as well as “Cinderella” Corsets—those that were ordered and never picked up (can you imagine?) and gently used corsets being sold by those who feel it’s time to re-vamp their wardrobe.

    Do you have a corset that has served you well over the years, but for whatever reason, you just don’t wear anymore? This is your chance to sell that corset. In order to have everything ready in time, Dark Garden will be accepting consignment corsets July 3-16. They are happy to help you decide on a price.

    Call Dark Garden for details or if you have any questions (415) 431-7684.

    Hillbarn Theatre in Foster City is having a vintage clothing and costume sale this coming Saturday, June 18th from 10am to 3pm.

    From the Facebook invite, “We are cleaning out a huge collection of vintage & contemporary clothing and accessories! Hundreds of items from 25 cents to $10! Present day back to 20’s. Notions, accessories, hats, shoes, coats, dresses, tops, military, skirts, petticoats, suits and MORE!!! Cash or check only.”

    Hillbarn is located at 1285 E. Hillsdale Blvd. in Foster City, California.

    Amazon Dry Goods
    www.AmazonDryGoods.com
    This seller of Victorian ephemera is going out of business. The owner is ill and sales are down so they’re selling off their stock at deep discounts. A huge portion of what they sell is books and patterns but they also carry shoes, undergarments (hoops, stockings, camisoles, etc.), detachable collars, accessories of all sorts and Civil War reenactment props. There is a bunch of stuff that looks very steampunk. They have finally put their catalogs on the website (so you don’t have to buy them!). Take a look while you still can.