SMP Craft
12 Nov


I’ve yet to meet a Nerddom hobbyist who doesn’t make really cool stuff. There must be some scientific explanation for it.

Desirae May Friesen, Tor & Forge Books Associate Publicist, whose special guest post you’re about to read, is no exception.

Inspired by the visuals at New York Comic Con and compelled to cosplay, yet faced with the challenge of not being able to sew, she designed an amazing sewing-free painted costume!


New York Comic Con: the largest gathering of creators and fans of all forms of nerdy entertainment on the East Coast. I attended this last fall and quickly realized the highlight of the convention is all of the amazing and creative costumes–or “cosplay.”

Anachronistic Black Widow and Winter Soldier (WOW). Flickr Image by Steven Leung via

I was awed–and inspired. Here was something that could unite two of my biggest hobbies: nerddom and crafts!

And I immediately knew what costume I wanted to start with. Spider-Man has always been my favorite superhero. Recently Marvel created an alternate universe where Peter Parker’s girlfriend, Gwen Stacy, is the one who gets bit by the spider, gets powers–and becomes Spider-Woman (aka Spider-Gwen).


Lowe, Hine & Latour Take Readers to the ‘Edge of Spider-Verse’: Dave Richards via

Now the question was, how? See, there’s one problem: I don’t know how to sew. I can sew on a button, but despite my mother’s patient tutelage (she’s a professional seamstress) I never really managed to finish any projects. But I would not be stopped!

I already had black leggings and I found a plain white hoodie for the top.

This is where it got tricky. Since cutting out the design and sewing it together was beyond my meager skills I decided to try creating the design with fabric paint. I have no experience with fabric paint. But I am nothing if not daring.

I outlined the pattern with masking tape, checking first that it would stick to the fabric and come off easily without leaving a mark. So far so good.

I read the directions for the paint and then used the entire bottle of black paint for the front. I started out using spray paint, which clearly worked better as a splatter design–it was challenging to get a thick, even layer. So for the rest of the design I switched to liquid fabric paint and painted it on with a foam brush, again outlining it with the masking tape to get the clean lines of the costume design.


Use LIQUID Fabric Paint

Once the black paint dried completely, I painted the inside of the hood with red paint. The red paint bled through the thin white fabric so I improvised a fix by buying a bottle of white paint to coat the outside of the hood (and fix a few mistakes in other places).


WHITE Fabric Paint Touch-Up

Now I had to figure out how to do the design on the inside of the hood. Once the red paint had dried, I used glow-in-the-dark blue raised paint to make the web pattern.


Use GLOW-IN-THE-DARK BLUE RAISED Paint for the webbing

I don’t recommend making a project up as you go along. It is definitely easier to do your research ahead of time and plan out your steps. But I DO encourage you to try out a project even if you’ve never done something like it before.



Figuring out how to create something new was a lot of fun, even if it didn’t always turn out the way I expected. And even if I have the worst costume at the next convention I go to, I know that I will have as much fun wearing it as I did making it!

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8 Oct

HOW-TO TUESDAY: Cool Ideas to Design Your Own T-shirt (For Cheap or Free!)

For some time now I’ve been thinking about revitalizing old clothes with a quick craft make-over. I was flipping through DESIGN YOUR OWN TEES by Rachel Cooke which is filled with quick and easy ideas to design your own shirts. Check out this  how-to make a t-shirt dress! So easy and so fun! Can’t wait to try it out myself.
– Mitali

Design Your Own TeeTECHNIQUE: Raw-edged Applique

Applique is a lovely technique f or embellishment. Usually, you finish the edges of your stitched- on designs to keep them neat and protected from damage during washing and wearing. For this project, however, leave the edge s raw and let chance take its course! Create a stylish T- shirt dress that is refined enough to wear out on the town. Applique different types of fabrics for a varied effect- this is a great project for leftover scraps that are too small to use for anything else. Fabrics will fray at different rates, and some may eventually disappear in the wash, leaving the stitching exposed. Embrace the unpredictable results of this project, and you will have a truly one-of-a-kind tee.


T-shirt dress
Fabric scraps in a variety of colors and patterns
Contrasting thread
Scissors or a rotary cutter and cutting mat
Straight pins
Sewing machine
Washing machine

1. Make a pattern piece out of the hexagon template provided (page 127), or create your own pattern piece in the shape of your choice. Use paper or lightweight cardboard to do this. Adjust the scale of the hexagon template, if you like.
2. Cut out lots of hexagons from the fabric scraps. You can use scissors or a rotary cutter and cutting mat. Note: Remember to always roll the rotary cutter away from you-it is very sharp and can give you a nasty cut. (I’m speaking from experience here!)
3. Arrange the hexagons on your tee in a pattern that pleases you.
4. Pin them in place.
5. Stitch around the edges of the hexagons with a straight stitch. (I chose to stitch my whole project in one contrasting thread color to add some punch.)
Remember to leave enough fabric around the edges to allow for some nice fraying.
6. Backstitch to secure each piece.
7. Now it’s all up to chance. Wear your tee, and delight in how much it changes each time you wash it.

Design Your Own Tee - Example

For an extra-personal touch, use some of the printing techniques in this book to print your own fabrics for your appliques.

Raw-edged stripes! Cut lengths of fabric about ¾” (2 cm) wide and arrange them on your tee. Stitch each stripe with one seam in the center of the fabric, leaving lots of opportunity for fraying.


Get your copy of DESIGN YOUR OWN TEES from your fave local bookseller or click on any retailer link below:


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CAUGHT CRAFTING: SMPCraft’s Spotlight on NYC Crafting

SMPCRAFT #CAUGHTCRAFTING Thursday morning, Astoria, Queens. Accessorizing with a lovely temporary floral tattoo she learned to make from DIY Temporary Tattoos: Draw It, Print It, Ink It by Pepper Baldwin!



Father's Day is less than three weeks away -- Sunday, June 19th in the U.S. -- just enough time to start prepping for what would make dear old pops feel loved....What dad, what MAN, wouldn't want to get a bright red tool box full of homemade BBQ, bacon, and chili flavored chocolate? Or a handmade Paracord hammock? Does he play golf?--hand dipped tees? Does he like to hike? Enjoy nature and the great outdoors? How about homemade beef jerky? Or does he enjoy watching sports--Remote Control Cookie? What about beer? One of the coolest new items coming out of Japan is a Frozen Beer Slushy Maker by Kirin Ichiban that perfectly pairs with the DIY black and tan soap! Scroll and click for more homemade DIY Father's Day gift ideas sure to make pappy happy! Hashtag #SMPCRAFT #DIYFATHERSDAY!

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