Hmmm… my bottom birds are upside down.
I will let you know when I figure it out. I know 3 people having babies in the next couple months so this should be a good gift. Link to the project and pattern for the birds here.
Hmmm… my bottom birds are upside down.
I will let you know when I figure it out. I know 3 people having babies in the next couple months so this should be a good gift. Link to the project and pattern for the birds here.
I thrifted this big cable knit sweater last weekend. It was $5, above my usual sweater thrifting quota, but I really wanted to make a throw pillow, there was a lot of cable knit in this, and the buttons were nice. Thus, I hacked it up.
My pillow interior is down filled and 18×18, and this sweater was more like 16×16, but the knit was able to stretch enough. Really it looks more rectangular here, which is true, but it worked out. I had to take the sides in an inch on each side because you can see that I had to hack the top a little above the armpits.
I did a 3 length zigzag stitch for the seams. Knitting goes through the sewing machine pretty slowly, so I think it’s held together quite well. I did all four sides, and the buttons are on the middle of one side of the pillow for opening/closing. I ended up tacking and hand sewing between the buttons because there was a bit of gaping due to stretching the material, but now you can not tell.
P.S. The pillow is on the living room couch now.
We found this old chair at the thrift store about a month ago. I always keep my eyes peeled for these. Sometimes I find them and then think, I don’t really need another chair. But chairs are useful. You can sit on them. I can put them in the basement. They are easily re-arrangeable for larger gatherings. You can make them look cool.
I told S that we should get a shopping cart and cart it around while we shop. He thought I was crazy. Lo and behold, some lady started stalking us throughout the store admiring said chair and quizzing us on it. I gave S a ‘see what I mean’ look, and he realized I was right. Sometimes it takes men a little longer to clue into realizing we are right, but this was nice because it was immediate gratification demonstrating my accuracy.
Here is the little metal plate with the chair maker name. Their history is found here.
And thus, I reupholstered it, and here is the result. I wanted to get rid of the upholstering on the back part, but it was riddled with nails from what I believe were previous recovering jobs. The wood is a bit beaten up, but still in good shape, so I opted not to refinish the entire thing (S wanted to).
Right now it is sitting against the wall in the kitchen. We are kind of making a sort of gallery collage on the wall. You can see the chalkboard I gussied up here on the top right.
I made some stockings for Christmas gifts. These are the results. Fully lined. I think they turned out nicely.
I had a bit of a fight with my sewing machine at first. The stitches were not coming out even, and the thread carriage kept getting all bungled up with thread and scratched. I finally figured out what I was not using a standard needle but a heavy duty needle (thus the trouble). They really should make the numbers on those easier to read. They kind of all look the same! I will definitely splurge and get the colour coded ones next time. It will save me frustration and time (lots of time).
The solo stocking below is for one individual baby. I gussied it up with some black lace after. The three others above are for S’s cousin (I was going to write Ss, but it looked too much like SS), and his wife. I might still gussy them up with a faux fur around the top. They are going to have a baby in June, so you can’t really buy anything baby yet, so instead we made them a triad of stockings.
Want to see how this:
Me too! More after the jump.
I finally hauled out my giant winter coat, which A. referred to this afternoon as being made out of mammoth fur. To be fair, wooly mammoths must’ve been really well insulated, considering they were traipsing around Siberia in an Ice Age, so the comparison is perhaps apt because this coat is TOASTY.
This is the coat that took me a year and a half to make: it’s thick wool, entirely flatlined with flannel, and a flannel-backed liner. I’m never making a winter coat without buttons to the bottom again, because finally my thighs don’t freeze. The hood’s pretty great, too.
This is actually a simplified back — there’s three pleats, but I sewed up the two side ones because the white panels have no wool in them, and made the coat colder. I’ve got grand plans to add lining to the inside and then open them up again, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. The pleat lays nice and flat when the coat is on the hanger — when I started making this coat, I was around 30 pounds lighter, and also was firmly entrenched in my “don’t ever make a muslin even for big projects because it’s a waste of time” attitude. Not exactly helpful, and now my backside is wider and my pleat doesn’t lay even remotely flat. Hrmph.
Speaking of hrmph, the reason I had to haul out the behemoth (this coat weighs several pounds) was because overnight almost foot of snow suddenly appeared. This is all I have to say about this turn of events:
I guess I should mention that I made this coat using the Talea pattern from Burdastyle, though I added the hood and the pleats, lined it (who makes a coat pattern without a lining?!) and fiddled with the tabs and buttons and whatnot.
It’s been a while since I’ve sewed with any frequency, and I miss it a lot. I’ve been trying to get back into the swing of it, but it takes time, and since my body shape is considerably different than it was when I was sewing regularly, I’m hesitant to blithely cut patterns and fabric without knowing how they’ll fit. But Gertie is having a sew along for Colette Patterns’ Crepe dress, and since it was on my list of things to make anyway, this seems like the perfect thing to help get me back on to the horse. Since this isn’t a sewing blog primarily, I won’t regale you with all the picky details about what I’ve done (unless you want to hear about it!), but I’ll post about the basic steps. Here’s the dress:
So pretty! I’m doing version two, with contrast waist ties and the sweetheart neckline. I went fabric shopping for the first time in a while, and spent entirely too much money on some gorgeous green brushed cotton that I couldn’t stop petting in the store. It had my name written all over it!
The light green is for the body of the dress, and the dark green is the contrast. The pattern calls for a light to medium weight fabric, and this is definitely a medium weight — it’s got great body and drape, and I’m hoping it’ll be somewhat of an all-season dress. This week’s steps are making a bodice muslin and fixing any fitting problems, which are steps I often brush aside or ignore entirely. Not this time! I’ll be back towards the end of the week with the results. Gertie’s walking through the construction step by step, and if you want to see what everyone else is doing, there’s a Flickr pool where everyone can post their progress.
I just realized I wore this purple shirt in my last post. Fear not, it was washed. This just demonstrates my true love for the colour purple.
It was quite windy today, and a bit chiller than the rest of this summer has been I initially wore thin black tights with these. Right before work I developed a run in the hose, fixed it with clear nail polish, and then a couple hours later gouged a hole in it, an unfixible one! Thus, sans-tights.
I ADORE this skirt that Millie made a couple years back. It has great volume to it, and the fabric has just a bit of stiffness so that the skirt keeps its shape all day. In addition, it has a brilliant sheen, and purple in it!
And for some extra credit, a little bit of craftiness in the form of a card that I made for a baby shower I attended this past weekend.
Via Melissa of Fehr Trade (who got it from DD), the Russian sewing pattern maker Lekala has put all their patterns in Burda size 42 and 44 (roughly equivalent to North American sizes 10 and 12 — I’m a Burda 44/46 depending on the garment and cut) for free for the month of September! There’s no English instructions that I can find (though if you speak Russian you’re in business) but there’s a HUGE amount of patterns up for grabs here. The patterns are like the BurdaStyle patterns — you print them yourself at home, and then tape all the pages together and cut it out. It’s a bit of a pain, but free patterns are free patterns.
Happy Stitch in Public Day, everyone! Due to a schedule that involves a Black-footed ferret and making homemade glow sticks (although not at the same time. Learning that lesson once was more than enough…), I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get out there and stitch, but if you knit, crochet, embroider, applique, etc. and have the chance, go out and show the world what you do!
If I do have the chance to do some stitchin’, I probably need to get back to work on my amoeba.
a few months back when the heat began to waive its cruel hand over vietnam, i posted about my desperate need for summer dresses. i was looking for anything cool, breezy, and offered feminine style with minimum effort. i decided on two designs, and three sets of fabric that would make up my new and fabulous threads, and with those items in tow i sauntered off to the local tailors for a few games of charades and wishes that all would turn out well. here are the results
the first dress turned out lloooveeely! aside from the bright white pearls that were affixed to the front, when i was first handed the dress i was beaming with delight. only a few alterations were needed as the ties in the dress allowed for easy (and flattering) fitting. a few inches off the bottom as well, and it was as great as a dress as i could have hoped for. it has made it into my near weekly rotation of items (not too many clothes with me here) and with tights or without, with ballet slippers or flip flops, i find it easy, comfy and femi-vienient (which is a mix of feminine, and convenience, the best of both worlds for the busy and humid ridden girly girl)
but then there was this one…
while in this picture it does look quite flattering, i must admit that it is not my favorite. when i first tried it on, the dress flumped down like a sac more than a figure helping drapery. it also had a large bow of the top fabric right in the front of the dress…. a little too much material than was necessary. bow off, bottom shortend, and sides taken in, i still don’t feel so styled in it. i will need to take it back for extra fitting, but schedules filled with work, outings, and cleanings leave little time to polish off my new duds.
some things i have realized since having now three items made here is this:
1. for those born sans sewing genes, the idea of having something made in the exact pattern and exact material you fancy makes me as giddy as school kids on pizza day! it makes me question why at home we ignore this lost art. instead many are happy to to settle for “well its not exactly my favorite colour, but i guess it will do”. perhaps cost and time deserve to be at the end of a finger pointing for this one….
b. tailors are wonderful, but spending an entire career catering to the beautifully slim and slender women of south east asia can make fitting with flattery a challenge for their new curvy-canadian customer. let alone the difference in clothing styles that can thrown off even the most seasoned seamstress, there are often times glances of confusion, and disappointment on my part when i take a look in the mirror and think “theres something just not right”. but the game plan is to make a frequent showing at the same tailor time and again, so that when they see this fuller (but healthy) lady comes through the door theres less need for charades and more results of fabulous!
i need a dress for a wedding (ha, doesnt my mom wish it was for mine!) thinking back to my post about being more responsible in my purchases, i believe i will opt out of heading to the local h&m at the mall a day before. instead i think ill get something really suited to my tastes, personality, and bum bum, all from a local source from a family i know is not working in an air-less cupboard 15 hours a day. this time ill be able to chicken dance proud knowing ive taken one action towards more ethical styling…
I found this dress last week at the thrift store across the road from my library. It has two ruffles at the bottom, and it has a white nice cotton lining inside. I altered the straps slightly because it was previously an elastic and ruffles off the shoulder variety . I figured that wearing straps might be more versatile, and tone down the late 80′s early 90′s vibe that this dress was giving. A couple stitches to hold the front straps in place, and the back created a nice cowl. The dress is maybe a size too big, but I thought that made it nice and airy, and nothing a belt couldn’t fix. Glad I was right.
Dragonfly on my dress. It devoured the misquito as it sat on the skirt of my dress.
This is my first take on a peplos. Due to high demand, I created one. The only problem is that I just went downstairs into my sewing room and whipped something up, with a vague remembrance of what the peplos looked like. So here is what it should have been:
And this is what I created:
Conclusion: I probably did not have enough fabric to create the length, folds and gathers, but I think I would call this a moderate success.
They say you’re supposed to dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Well, I had no job to go to today, so instead I dressed for the fruit I was hoping to find at the local farmers’ markets. I’m the proud owner of a new juicer, which my awesome parents found at a yard sale – never opened! – and have become quite the fan of fresh squeezed juice. I’d reached the end of my supply and was contemplating what I could make with two lemons and some parsley, so to the market I went. While the colors of my skirt might imply that I was looking for both regular raspberries and the blue raspberries used to flavor Slushies worldwide, I was hoping for raspberries and blueberries.
Take a minute with me to admire this skirt Millie made. A few years back I went to the frozen north for a visit, and in the span of two days (two!), Millie made me this incredible wrap skirt without even using a pattern. It has the most delicious weight, yet is so cool and comfortable to wear. Plus, it swishes when I walk. Total triple threat skirt.
Here’s my new favorite picture of myself. My camera’s timer suddenly switched to glacier mode, and was taking forever to flash. My utter disgust at being made to wait for my fresh raspberry grape juice is palpable. Either that, or the fruit fermented and this is what I look like drunk.
You know what does make me happy, though? Musical stairs.
I grew up going to the Science Museum in Boston and remember running up and down their stairs again and again. I keep arguing for them in our museum. Or my apartment. Whichever.
Exhibit A: What I went for (and the needles are a bit of a stretch, though needles are always okay to buy as far as I’m concerned).
Exhibit B: What I came home with, after restraining myself from getting several other pieces of material and more or less marching myself out of the store:
My moratorium on new fabric and stripes is, uh, not going so well.
Sarai of Colette Patterns is having a contest to celebrate her two new unmentionables patterns! To enter, you need to make an inspiration board for one or both of the two new patterns. Full details are here, her pattern shop with the new patterns is here, and the contest closes on June 16th. There’s a $75 gift certificate to her shop up for grabs, so you should all enter. Wait, no, none of you should enter, and then I’ll have less competition. Forget I said anything about it!
We went to another auction this evening. I got a sewing machine with a table and bench for $2. The sewing machine is a Singer, but I don’t know if it works well, and it looks a dull brown/tan plastic colour. Just the table and bench are worth it. Plus, it came with all the feet. This gives me a current grand total of 4 sewing machines. I’m gonna be a one woman sweat shop!
In addition, I found this necklace at the thrift store across the street from work. I just looked up the engraving on the clasp and learned that Sarah Coventry was like the Avon of 1949-1984, producing several pieces of costume jewelery. Personally, I was just looking to see if it was stamped silver, it wasn’t, but I guess it ended well enough.
*Disclaimer* These instructions may be a bit unclear to follow, and I apologize for skipping the part where sewing takes place. Any and all results will not place blame on these instructions, the Interrobangs, or Chelsie. Please continue reading…
I decided to take a stab at the 2 t-shirt dress as Katie posted about earlier -> here.
While my dress doesn’t look identical to the one we posted earlier (I kind of forgot about the pockets and I just winged it from the memory of that earlier post), I am happy with the result. Bonus – I think it’s even work appropriate!
In the previous post the dress looked like this:
While my result looked like this:
So, for years my mom was insistent that I really should be using one of those dayplanner things, to keep track of my many and varied social events.* I would dutifully acquire one, use it halfheartedly for a week or two, and then it would languish unused in my backpack or on my desk or somewhere for the rest of the year. I’d rather just have a list of things that need doing, and a list of deadlines, than write down all the stuff I should do on a specific day. Eventually my mom gave up on it, realizing that it just wasn’t going to happen.
But it’d be good to have some sort of repository of notes, lists, and deadlines, and while puttering around on Etsy I found just the ticket. Except, of course, it needed more bells and whistles (read: unnecessary pockets). I’m a little leery about linking the original source, because her store blurb has a comment to the effect of “Don’t copy my idea!” and, well, I totally did. I’ve no intention of making more of these, or selling this one, though, so I’m not too bent out of shape about it. Plus her version, while very nice (and probably less plagued by slightly skewed parts), just didn’t have enough unnecessary pockets.
So, behold the nanaimo organizer:
Opened up, the panel on the left will hold a calendar (once I print one off) and the pocket on the right holds a small notebook. The upper band make sure things don’t flop out, and the weird strip on the inside of the closing flap is for holding safety pins and hair clips.
The calendar flap opens out, revealing two pockets for assorted papers, notes, and whatever else I pick up in my travels.
The yellow part on the outside is a pocket, on both the front and the back. Stealthy!
It folds up nicely, and the spine accommodate the spiral ring notebook. The notebook actually helps the calendar flap keep its shape and not go all bendy when it’s folded over.
It’s made out of brown twill and cotton linen, and it closes with magnets. This is the first time I’ve sewn with magnets, and they are a huge pain in the butt. They’re strong, so they’ll work through several layers of fabric (which is good) but they stick to EVERYTHING. The face plate on my sewing machine, the ironing board, the needle, pins, my scissors…. oy. Couple that with the irritating interfacing** with glue on both sides, and this thing had its headaches. I didn’t take into account the bulk involved in folding it into thirds, so the pen slot doesn’t work (the pen fits, but it makes the spine too bulky and the flap doesn’t close properly) — I’m going to make a little pocket on the notebook pocket to slide a pen into. The flap doesn’t close quite evenly (the magnets went in slightly skewed, I think), which is irritating me no end but I’d have to rip apart the whole thing to fix it and that’s not happening. The calendar panel went a little wonky too, and the long inside pocket fell prey to the “things sag in the middle when you turn them right side out and iron the bejeebus out of them because you interfaced the seam allowances too when really you shouldn’t've” trap… Such are the pitfalls of making things with bright contrasts. If it was all brown, it’d be much less obvious, but it’d also be much more boring. That said, my poor machine’s glad this is done — it sounded like it was coughing up a hairball trying to chunk though the thick seams at the end. That interfacing is not to be trifled with.
* Hah, I wish.
** For the non seamstresses in the audience, interfacing is a stiffener/stabilizer that is either ironed or sewn on to fabric to give it body, strength, and stiffness. It comes in all sorts of weights, and is tremendously useful for waistbands and collars and such.
What’s so great about it, you say? It’s made from two t-shirts sewn together at their necklines. The hem of the top one becomes the cowl, and the hem of the bottom becomes the…bottom. Invert some sleeves for pockets and you’ve got yourself a dress, missy!
The dresses are for sale on Etsy, but I think this would be such a fun and easy project with uber comfy results. Now, who do I know with a sewing machine… Millie? Mum? As-yet-unknown-internet-reader who will become my new best friend? Eh? Eh?
*The name “take off your clothes” always reminds me of the Nelly song with the lyric, “It’s getting hot in here, so take off all your clothes.” That song was huge the summer my friend worked at a day camp, and they spent months trying to convince the kids to sing, “It’s getting hot in here, so turn on the A.C.” Didn’t work so well.
Hi internet! It’s been a while; sorry about that! First I got sick, then I had exams (and was that irritating person at the back snuffling her way through a three hour exam — I assure you, it was no more fun for me than it was for you), and well that was interesting. And then yesterday got eaten by wonky tax software, and basically things were a large pile of ARRRRG.*
So, I’ve got a week and a half off until my supervisor gets back from holiday and I have a research meeting, and I’m taking a sewing holiday. First up: what should I do with the sleeves on this coat?
I thrifted this (on one of those red letter days) a while ago, realizing that the sleeves are about two inches too short, but swayed by the lovely fit, the kick pleat in the back, and the fact that I’m a total sucker for snazzy coats. I thought “I’ll just stick some cuffs on them, and it’ll be fine!” and went on my merry way. Obviously I couldn’t find matching fabric, but I found some white cotton fabric with the same sort of texture, and then experimented with dyeing it with tea to reduce the stark contrast between the coat and the white cuffs. That sort of worked. Well the tea dyeing worked wonderfully (and I’ll post my method if anyone’s interested) but the colour has more of an orange undertone than a grayish undertone.
I realized I’d bought orange pekoe tea*** because it was the cheapest, realized of course orange pekoe would give an orange undertone, and tried again with Earl Gray, but the tone was pretty similar. And then I realized that I’d misconstructed the cuffs, and wouldn’t be able to attach them evenly, and so grumped loudly and left it until now. (I’ve learned from experience that sewing while snarky is not, in any way shape or form, a good idea.)
So I’m thinking about shortening the sleeves to make them proper 3/4 length sleeves rather than just slightly too short sleeves. This avoids the matching issue, and plus I think 3/4 length sleeves look snazzy (witness Gertie’s gorgeous jacket). I’ve rolled up my left sleeve to about where I’m thinking of cropping it:
But the coat’s about knee length, and I’m not sure if the proportions would work right; all the coats Ive seen with cropped sleeves are around hip length. Also, the buttons seems a little small to me, so I’m going to look for some bigger buttons (the button holes are huge, so it shouldn’t be a problem).
So, do you think this would all work? Where would you crop the sleeves? Do you have a better idea?
* I have done my taxes by hand since I started working as a young lass, and it has never failed me. The first time I try to wrangle a computer into doing them, thinking that maybe it’d be faster? Took all afternoon, and I gave up and am doing them by hand. I could’ve had them done three times by now, and I’m less than impressed to say the least.
**Oh yes, I got my hair cut in the short window between snuffling and frantic exam writing! Tried another place, and I’m pretty alright with this. I’m still contemplating shaving my head this summer, and this is sort of a halfway step. I’ve been muttering about shaving my head for years, and A. got one of razors you use for it for himself, so now that I’ve got the tools available to me there’s a good chance I’ll stop muttering and actually do it. There’s at least a 50% chance I’ll hate it, but considering there’s a 50% chance I’ll hate just about anything with my hair, that’s hardly a deterrent. And maybe I’ll stop muttering about it if I finally bite the bullet and do it. We shall see.
*** I hate orange pekoe tea, so I don’t quite know why I got it. One of my first summer jobs was working in a bakery of a grocery store, and I started drinking it because it was around and I was thirsty. It still, ten-ish years later, tastes like uncooked pie crust to me.
In the amazing world of work I found this site of DIY fashion creation for those who want to upcycling a little, into way more!
I present to you http://www.threadbanger.com/.
I am really enjoying browsing through these DIY ideas. I feel a sewing weekend coming up!
I was leafing through some book catalogues today when I came across this book. Sounds interesting.
In Refashioned Bags, you’ll learn how to create carryalls, clutches, laptop bags, totes, and more. And all of them will get a unique look, whether from the use of an old wool sweater, an ex-boyfriend’s neckties, extra shower curtains, dad’s hand-me-down suit jacket, a quilt, an umbrella, or even a bath mat. Some of the inventive and one-of-a-kind bags you’ll learn to make include:
• Boho Hobo Bag
• Sweater Computer Cozy
• Dapper Diaper Bag
• Dolce Doily Purse
• Le Zip Sac
• Tux Redux Bag And more!
Helpful diagrams accompany the step-by-step instructions, along with bonus crafting ideas, fun facts, and tips and tricks from top bag designers in the DIY field who work with, at times, unusual materials. By following just a few easy steps that require little more than cutting, folding, gluing, and basic stitching, you’ll be able to add refashioned bag designer to your repertoire.
9 amazon customers gave this book a five star rating, do you?
So, remember how nothing fits and I’m pulling my hair out because of it? That appears to be an ongoing project, as a rifle through my “things left half finished from ages ago” pile to find things to work on shows that with the exception of one or two things, nothing’s worth finishing now because it won’t fit. This is incredibly frustrating, because I’ve put time and effort into making something, and it’s all for naught.
But this has also prompted me to retake my measurements, and realize that I’ve been taking the waist measurement wrong for years. A little googling later, and I realize that I’m quite short waisted, which I’ve never accounted for before. I’ve always taken my waist measurement several inches lower (where I assume a normal rise waist would be) and ignored it because it didn’t fit with the rest of my measurements. (Bad seamstress, I know.) A good proportion of the time, my ignoring the waist measurement means that what I’m making doesn’t fit right, amplifying the frustration. (This also explains why most of my pants are unflattering, if they fit at all, and why dresses that have a higher waist tend to look fantastic and fit considerably better than dresses with lower waists.) This is quite the epiphany for me — I know what to do with my patterns now, though I’m a bit sheepish it took me this long to figure it out.
For the curious, here’s what the consensus of the internet says about waist length. To find your natural waist, bend to the side (left or right); your natural waist is where the crease between your bust and hips forms. For a quote unquote normal length waist, your natural waist should fall about two hands breadths below your underbust. If your waist is closer to your bust, you’re short waisted; farther away, you’re long waisted. Complicating the matters is the rise (length from natural waist to crotch) — the internet is of minimal help about how to determine this, but this post by Angie at You Look Fab may help elaborate on that. (See also her post on long waistedness.)
I’m sure there’s a pile of so called rules that I’m supposed to follow to flatter a short waist, but I’ve no idea what they are (and even if I did, I suspect I’d be less than beholden to them. Following rules for how I should dress is not something I’m keen on). Any ideas, though? If you’re short waisted, what works for you?