Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Memento Necklace

Hello Readers. Do you save little mementos as you travel through life? I do. I try not to be a hoarder but some things are hard to throw away. I try to find a way to use them instead of hiding them away in a drawer. My project today came about as I tried to find a way to save/use a little memento I got from a recent wedding. 
I love weddings, doesn't everybody? There's love, joy, music, dancing, cake,.... what more could you want?

Cords of many colors.

When I got to this fabulous wedding (Seriously, it was fabulous, and they put it all together in 3 weeks. Amazing!) there were little place cards that had a cute little brass key attached. Super cute. The cards told me where to sit and what I was having for dinner. 

My whole family went to this wedding, so I had several keys. They were a few different designs and I kept them for a couple weeks as I decided what to do with them. I thought I could make a little pendant necklace with some or all of these keys. I ordered some leather cords pre-cut to a necklace length. It was $6.99 for approximately 2 dozen cords of various colors on Amazon. 

I chose this neutral taupe sort of color and put it through the top of each key. I tied a knot so the keys would stay at the center front of the necklace. I adjusted the over all length so the necklace was a nice length for me and tied a simple knot at the end. I cut off the excess and that was it.

The leather cords were soft and easy to work with. I like long necklaces like this, they are easy to wear. I saved a few cords to make a few more necklaces in the future and my daughter took the rest of the cords. She said they would make great friendship bracelets.

Thanks for reading, now go make something fun for yourself.
And congratulations to the Mulders!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Small Fixes

Hello Readers. I think sometimes clothes just need a few small fixes to make them great again. My project today was a great houndstooth skirt that I found at a clothes swap. It was so cute and it looked brand new, why did someone give this away? I soon saw why.

This skirt is super cute but the large woven pattern is easy to snag. I had to pull the snagged threads through to the back to repair the outside of the skirt. Sometimes sweaters snag like this too. It is annoying but it's not hard to fix. (Small fix #1)

This skirt was also too large. It had a zipper on one side and a seam on the other side. I decided to take the skirt in on the side that didn't have a zipper and leave the zipper side alone. Why mess with a working zipper if you don't need to, right? You can see below where I marked the skirt with white chalk. This is going to be my new seam.

I had a lot of concerns about this new seam. The fabric is so loosely woven in some places, I thought it would fray like crazy. I decided to cover the new seam with bias tape and stitch it together. The black bias tape doesn't match exactly, but it is inside so it won't matter. (Small fix #2)

This denim shirt was great but it didn't lay flat down the front. The shirt would gape between the second and third buttons. Button down shirts always seem to do this to me. The only fix that works for me is to make a few stitches over the existing seam. I have to pull it over my head like to get it on but it looks much better and I am more comfortable.
A safety pin would fix this too, but I would rather make a permanent fix. (Small fix #3)

OK, everything is fixed and/or corrected.. I love the skirt. I need 10 more. I like pencil skirts but I really love full skirts with a defined waist. They work so much better for me. 

Thanks for reading, now go make something fun for yourself.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

St. Paddy's Day

Happy (almost) St. Patrick's Day everyone. Or St. Paddy's Day, whichever you prefer. I hope it is a good day for you. I found a cute little video about the origins of the holiday and who St. Patrick was. My kids loved it.

 I had this shirt that was perfect for the day but I thought it was bit plain and boxy. 
I decided to try and dress it up.

                      Boxy T-shirt.                            Old picture of boxy shirt and big pants.

I cut a little hole in the inside of the edge of the sleeve. The way it is folded over and stitched down when it's made leaves a tube around the sleeve. I threaded elastic through the "tube" on the sleeves. I thought it would draw the sleeve ends in and make it look like a ruffle. 

I tied a knot to connect the elastic and tried to make it smaller without being too tight. This took a few try-ons. 

Here is the sleeve. It looked a little better to me so I did the other sleeve the same way. It was quick and easy.

I wanted to dress up the bottom edge of the shirt too. I found a large supply of thin lace in my stash of sewing stuff. I am not sure where it came from. I attached it right on top of the seam at the bottom of the shirt. The hem was a handy guide to keep the lace even around the whole shirt.

The lace made a nice trim at the bottom of the shirt. This was quick and easy too.

That's it for today. It was a short project and post in preparation for St Patrick's Day with the family. We do a combination of weird, silly, Irish, and non-Irish traditions. (Including, but not limited to,  Luck Charms cereal, corn-beef and cabbage, and green everywhere. A leprechaun might visit our house and play tricks. We'll see.)

Thanks for reading, go make something fun & green for yourself.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Big, Big, Big

Hello Readers. I love hand-me-downs. You know that if you have read this blog before. Today's project is an outfit made of 3 big hand-me-downs that needed a little help. As you can see the pants were way too long and the sweater was too big all over. We'll get to the brown shirt too. 

I decided to cut some fabric out of the sweater. I cut a wedge shape out of each side. You can see the line where I marked my cut in the picture on the left. This sweater frayed like crazy and I decided to use some bias tape to wrap the cut edges. I used my machine to stitch it into place. It worked well and made for easy sewing.

It made a little cap sleeve. The sides have a little waist indent now I think it will look less big and shapeless. 

Here is a great pair of cords that I thought would be warm in this second Winter we are having here where I live. These pants fit in the hips but the waist was too big and the legs are ridiculous.

The waist was gaping open at the back when I tried them on. I hate that. Sometimes when pants fit me around the hips, the waistband is too large. This is my quick fix for that problem. I made two small tucks in the waistband. I made one on each side right at the seam. It made the waist taper in and stopped the gaping. The fit was much better.

I folded the fabric in and used my machine to stitch a small triangle shape in the waistband. It was easy but I had to sew slowly or my needle would break. It took just a minute.

I also shortened them a few inches. The new hem was bulky and needed to be ironed before I could wear them. Ironing made a huge difference. I should iron more often.....nah.

The pants are great after some alterations. The waist is smaller but comfortable and the legs are short enough for me now. Big improvement.

Here is the brown shirt. My mom passed this on to me months ago. It looks a little baggy but I was afraid to make it smaller because it has no stretch. If I made it smaller it wouldn't be as comfortable. I didn't love the shapeless look of it but it is heavy and warm. It is freezing outside and this is a great warm shirt.

I decided to make an elastic waist using the finished hem at the bottom of the shirt. It is a tube all around the bottom of the shirt. I made a tiny cut in the hem and slid some elastic around the shirt and tied the two ends together. I made the size of the elastic to draw in the bottom of the shirt.

Here is finished shirt with the drawn in waist, it matches the elastic wristbands that were already there. I left the rest the shirt just as it was. 

The elastic at the waist brought the bottom of the shirt up a little. It doesn't look as long and seems to fit better even though I didn't change the size anywhere else.

I went out that day and got a haircut at the fabulous Oxygen Salon in Rockville, MD. I recommend Stephanie, she fixed my crazy chopped up hair. Thanks Stephanie!

That's it for today. Thanks for reading, now go make something fun for yourself. 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Brown Tuxedo Dress

Hello Readers. Today's post is a brown knit dress, and what a great dress it could be. Check out this tuxedo ruffle! It is thick and heavy and bulky and it is right on my chest. This is really not flattering or comfortable. The dress is a nice knit that is like a comfy T-shirt, but the huge chest ruffle ruins it for me. It needs to go.

These sleeves have a big ruffle at the end. It dangles and flutters and generally gets in the way. They are annoying and unnecessary. They need to go too.

My first step was to remove the things I didn't like and then see what was left. I cut out the ruffled chest. It was sewn it so well I couldn't unpick all the stitches. So, CHOP! It's gone. I also cut the sleeve ruffles off. 
The dress itself is made of panels so there are seams all around the dress, it will be easy to put the dress back together.

I connected the open chest a few inches above the waist.  I had a deep V-neck now.  The center seam is new. I took out two panels and made a new connecting seam.
I pinned the edge of the V-neck under and stitched it down. I also finished the edges of the sleeves where I had cut off the ruffles.

Here is my dress on the dress form and on the floor to show what was removed. The chest ruffle, the sleeve ruffle and a couple panels from the front of the dress were all taken out.

Now I have a simple in-n-out dress. It has a nice waist and full skirt. It is comfy and easy to wear. I am diggin' it. It is very low cut and obviously needs a shirt under it but it is a million times better than the huge tuxedo chest ruffle it had before. I left the 3/4 length sleeves because they seemed appropriate for all seasons. 
The original length was not great for me so I shortened it about 8 inches and made a new hem.

Thanks for reading, now go make something fun for yourself.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Sweater Expansion

Hello Readers. It is cold and windy here, it's like Winter is back. To stay warm I decided to fix this warm, cozy red sweater. It was my husband's sweater but it shrunk in the wash. Oops! (Laundry accidents happen right?)

It got too small for him and it was a little small at the waist for me. It bunched up around my waist instead of fitting over my hips. It felt bulky and uncomfortable when I wore it. I decided to try and make it a little bit larger around the waistband.

I made two cuts in the sweater. One on each side, following the side seam straight up the side of the sweater. I measured to make sure that each side had an opening the same length. I didn't remove any of the sweater, I just cut a slit up each side. 

These cuts are about 12cm.

I wanted to use this gray silk blouse. I have had it for ages, it was too small. I have kept it for quite a while waiting for a way to use it.

I ironed the sides a little before I measured and cut them.

I used the ruler to cut two triangles from the sides of the blouse. I made the triangles about a half inch larger than the openings in the sweater to allow for the seam allowance.

Here are my triangles, I made them about 8 inches wide. They are going to make the waistband wider and give the sweater a peplum shape. At least I hope so anyway. I used my machine to attach the pieces, it was easy sewing.

Do these look like shark teeth or is it just me?

Here is my finished sweater. It isn't dramatically different from the front. The gray pieces on the sides are light and make the sweater larger but not bulky. It was comfortable and looser around the hips, that was what I wanted. 

Here is a better shot of the new peplum shape. I like the gray and red together, it's a nice combination.

I had no photographer this day so I resorted to a selfie.

Thanks for reading, now go make something fun for yourself.