Black Ren Shirt.

 I am deep in the midst of sewing and agonizing over writing revisions but I thought I would take the time to make a quick post about the one thing I’ve actually finished. This is a super simple ren/pirate shirt. I made one in white and I’ve always meant to make a black one. 

      So if it’s so easy why did it take me years to get around to actually sewing it? Good question. Moving on.

     My current costuming project demands a black shirt, finally giving me the motivation to dig through my bins of fabric for something suitable. Surprise, the only black fabric I had was a tiny worthless smidge of cotton! I did, however, have this pair of pants that someone gave me made out of a cool, loose-weave, drape-y material.

     I present to you the shirt made out of pants.

042 Simple, easy, and perfect. I gathered the sleeves and attached them to a cuff that closes with a button.

Enourmously full sleeves.

enormously full sleeves.

Now, I have a small confession about the front. I hadn’t quite decided what sort of neck line I wanted and apparently I got a little scissor happy. Somehow I ended up with a great gap down the front of the shirt. Let’s just say it showed A Lot. Since I’m not actually making a Medieval Stripper outfit this had to be rectified. I added a strip down each side of the gap and then embroidered lacing holes for closure.

043 Thankfully all this mistake needed was a little creativity and the end result looks deliberate. Since I still can’t figure out how I managed such a dumb mistake I’m laying all the blame on my scissors. Let this be a warning to everyone! Scissors are sneaky little bastards, don’t trust them! 



Agent Appreciation

If you’ve been querying a novel for any length of time than you’re probably quite familiar with the form rejection. A quick, polite, but impersonal ‘not for us’. I understand the reason for these rejection forms, and I’m actually thankful for them because they’re a lot better than no answer at all. However, the other day I heard back from an agent and, while it was still a rejection, it was a personalized rejection. Nothing fancy but the agent wrote that ‘the story was interesting’. Sure, I’d definitely prefer an enthusiastic demand for the full manuscript but after weeks of form letters this scrap of encouragement made me ridiculously grateful. 

     This is a shout out to the agents who take the time out of their work to send us a personalized reply. Your encouragement means the world to a struggling writer.

How To Sew Your Gronckle.

I have been working hard to ensnare my mother in my How To Train Your Dragon cult and my persistence is paying off, she has a favorite dragon now, the Gronckle.

Boulder Class, spews Lava and, if fed the right rocks, makes Gronckle Iron.

We’ve been searching for a stuffed Gronckle but the pickings are disappointing at best. They all look like bugs and one is puke green while the other is … magenta. Yes, Gronckles do come in a variety of colors but this thing would sear your retinas. We wanted one that looks like Meatlug (pictured above).

Well, when all else fails the only option left is to make your own.  There are plenty of patterns to sew your own Toothless and several for Deadly Nadders but I could find no evidence online that anyone has sewn a Gronckle before. That means I had to draft my own pattern and have I mentioned, I’VE NEVER SEWN A STUFFED ANIMAL BEFORE AND I AM TOTALLY INTIMIDATED BY THE IDEA?

It took a few mock ups but it was actually pretty easy, luckily for me the Gronckle has the simplest shape of all the dragons. He was a surprise gift for my mom and I had less than a day to make him, It took me basically twelve hours since I started working at 12 PM and finished just before 12 AM.

Without further ado, meet Headpounder! (Named thusly due to his construction giving me a pounding headache)

Side View

Side View

 Well, hello there! Isn’t he cute?    

Front View

Front View

 He was made from a sued-ish skirt that someone gave me, it made a hideous skirt but an adorable Gronckle, he’s very soft! 

Top View

Top View

My mom was thrilled. *pats self on back repeatedly*  

Are you interested in making your own Gronckle? Sadly, I was too busy to remember to take pictures of his construction but I drew out a pattern that I hope will be useful to anyone else attempting this.

Pattern to sew your own Gronckle.

Pattern to sew your own Gronckle.

 It’s not proportionally correct, so you’ll have to use your own judgement to make yours the size you want.

TIPS: Cut the wings, teeth, and head flaps, and eyelids out of felt, I didn’t have any and it would have made things a whole lot easier.

Sew the legs on ‘the wrong way’ and then let them flip down, this will hide the seam.

I sewed a tiny rubber tube (it mysteriously showed up in my room, don’t even know where it came from) along the edge of the wing to help it stand out and then ran wire up through the tube to give it a little bit of pose-ability.

I found the eye to be a little confusing, Gronckles have quite bulbous eyes, so you’re going to want to stuff an eye like a little pillow and attach it to the desired spot, I used a touch of glue than hand sewed it on (I painted the eye before sewing it on). Then position the eyelids which will sort of smooth the eye into the head. (does that make sense to anyone else?)


I’m still enjoying the high one gets from completing something new, what shall I sew next? A life-sized Terrible Terror? A large, dangly Octopus to sit on my shoulder for Pirate Festivals has been on my wish list for a very long time, maybe I’ll try that next!


If anyone has questions about Headpounder’s construction please let me know and I will do my best to answer, if you make a version, or have previously, then I would dearly love to see it!