Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Two Dress Combo

Hello Readers. My project today is a combination of two dresses. One was too plain and one was too small. The dress on the top-left was so cute and colorful but it was so small through the top, I couldn't even zip it up the back.  The dress on the bottom-left is from L.L. Bean. It was a soft and cozy knit dress and just so blah! I love black but it was so stern and severe. It was a little depressing.
Perhaps together they could help each other.

I cut the knit dress off between the bodice and the skirt. It had a seam there so I just used it as a guide for my cutting. I cut the colored dress off where the bottom of the zipper ended in the back. That left me a good size skirt shaped piece to use in my new dress.

You can probably guess my big plan already. I am just going to put them together. Easily, I hope. If you look closely you can see the chalk lines on the skirt. I took it in a little to match the size of the top. This will be a full cut A-line dress. It will be loose and comfortable for the warm summer days.

I quickly attached the two parts (It was easy!) and had a new dress to kick around in. I was glad I found a way to save those colorful bands around the bottom. They were unique and cute. I guess I could belt it and define the waist but it is nice when left loose and relaxed too.

Thanks for reading, next time I will show you what I did with the bottom of the black knit dress.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Seersucker Shirt

Hello Readers. My husband put this in the give away pile and once it's there, it's all mine. It's hard to tell from these pictures but it is a light blue and white striped seersucker fabric that is great for summer. It will be cool in the heat.

I considered making it into a skirt but thought the light colors might look like an old school tennis skirt. I haven't played tennis since junior high and I wasn't any good at it. So, I made a top. I cut off the yolk and the sleeves to start with.

I folded the top edge under twice and stitched it in place. I put the front pieces in place, one behind the other and sewed them together. I also put a few stitches between each button all the way down the shirt to keep the front flat when its worn. I can pull it on over my head.

I also removed the pocket. It wasn't in the right place anymore and I liked the top without it. It was more streamlined with no extra details like the pocket.

I cut the ends of the sleeves off and used them as ties for the front of my new top. I cut very close to the seam that was already there so it will control any fraying. If I see any loose threads after washing I can just trim them off.
I pinned then sewed the ties on the front of the shirt where the bra straps were and tied them around the back of my neck.

Here is a picture of all the fabric I cut away. It looks like a science class dissection. I haven't done that since junior high either. Eww! (I wasn't very good in science class either.) 

I wore it tucked in and pulled out so you can see the difference. I like it tucked in best I think. But a belt around the untucked shirt might be nice too. It's nice to have options.

I wore this when I was touring the historic town of Harper's Ferry in West Virginia. It is a National Park and an active town. It is on a small peninsula with the Potomac River on one side and the Shanandoah River on the other. It was beautiful.


When I got the idea to make a halter neck top with straps I almost didn't do it because I didn't have a bra with those style straps. Then I decided to alter a bra I already had. If you don't have it, make it.

The gray fabric is to make it easier to see.

I started by simply cutting the straps off in the back at an angle.

Then I put them together so they would sit behind my neck. I was careful to get the measurement correct so it would fit my neck comfortably. I cut off the excess. It worked great with the new top. I think this will be a very useful item.

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

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Difficult Skirt to Shirt

Hello Readers. I had this great patterned skirt. It is too big and too long for me so I had to do something.  You can't see it from the pictures but it is super sheer and delicate cotton fabric. I didn't realize how difficult it would be to work with it. What I thought would be easy was in reality, a mess to sew.

This skirt had some torn spots at the bottom that needed attention. I could have just made this skirt my size by taking it in. I could have sewn new seams that removed the damage and made it smaller, but in my mind I could see a loose summer top. So that is what I started making.

I cut off the waistband. That part was easy. It was very wrinkled so I ironed it just enough to make the fabric easier to spread out. This is when I realized it was so thin it wouldn't be easy to deal with. 

I flipped it upside down and pinned it on my dress form. I wanted a wide neckline. That was the last real decision I made. After this point it was a fight to get this fabric to do anything I wanted. It didn't drape very well because it a little stiff in spite of being so sheer. 

I connected the front and back together at the shoulders with 1 inch seams and sewed straight down the sides. Then I cut away some of the excess so I could work with it more easily. It was pretty shapeless at this point.

The dog is not impressed.

I used the dress form and made armholes. I just rolled the fabric under and stitched it down. It was so thin and delicate it got caught in my machine. Over and over and over. I was getting really frustrated by now. (*Note-I should have used something to stabilize the seam like hem tape.) 

I decided to used the original waistband and attached it to the bottom. I thought it would finish the bottom and cinch in the waist a little. It needed some shape. It also pulled all the fabric together and that hid some of the spots where the fabric got caught in the machine and caused the fabric to pucker.

Front view.                                                 Front view.

It was nice over a tank top and I do like the earth tones. It was a pain in the neck and honestly, I would do something else with this skirt if I had it to do all over again.

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

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Floor Length Floral

Hello Readers. How are you today? I hope you are well and safe and happy where ever you are. My project today is a very long floral dress. It is probably not as long as it looks, I am very short. This dress caught my eye last winter at a clothes swap and it has been waiting for a hot summer day. Now is the time for sure, it is roasting out there. This dress is a nice light weight silk and it will do nicely in the heat. Silk breathes really well so it won't make me overheat. 

I spread the dress out and cut off the bottom 18" or so. I got next to the dress and tried to cut it off so it would be at my knee when I was finished making a new hem. Sorry, no picture of my highly technical way of measuring. Just picture a short woman next to this dress using her knee as a guide for where to cut.

I removed these shoulder pads. I don't want them anymore. My shoulders aren't very muscular, but I am OK with that. I think these are a little silly and I always remove them when I find them in a garment.

I stitched a new hem on my machine in just a few minutes. I used this flat iron to press the new hem. It was silk so I used the low setting. It worked very well. (I hate to iron so I avoid it when I can.)

That's my foot!

I wore this dress to an outdoor antique market called Chartreuse & Company in Frederick, MD. It was great!


I still had a big silk circle from the bottom of this dress. It was fairly large and very nice silk. I couldn't throw it away!

I tucked the raw edge under the hemmed edge and stitched it down. It only took a few minutes to sew all the way around the circle. 

I had a new silk infinity scarf. It helped dress up a plain casual outfit.

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

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Everything Dress

Hello Readers. I hope you are well. My dress today is like an Everything Bagel. Do you have those where you live? It is a combination of all the yummy flavored things they can put in bagel. This dress has everything you could want in a dress. Pleats, ruffles, cinched waist, dropped waist, a string tie with beads, bright colors, unique pattern, puffed sleeves... You name it, it's here. All at once. It's a lot. Maybe too much?

I'm not sure if you can see the quality of the material and workmanship in these pictures. This is a well made dress. Check out these ruffles across the chest. These are some quality ruffles. These ruffles have been staring at me for over a year. I couldn't come up with any ideas to make this dress less dramatic, less busy and easier to wear. So it waited. And waited some more.

I finally decided I couldn't do much with the top and cut it off. Bye ruffles! I now had the skirt portion to play with. I cut off the strings at the neck. I had an idea to use them.

I took a little time to remove the scrap edge of the top from the skirt half. I just unpicked the stitches and took the two pieces apart. It is a nylon that will fray like crazy. luckily, the skirt edge is serged and if I don't mess with it it won't fray at all. This will make my job very easy.

I attached the strings at the front to help hold this dress up. The beads are cute in the back. I am not a huge fan of strapless dresses, gravity usually wins and the dress starts to slip. Then you have to pull it up all day. Annoying! But I was so happy I thought of what I could do with this dress, I just decided to do whatever came to mind. It is a loose sundress at this point. It's a little too loose. 

I like this new sundress a lot. Gathering the waist (with elastic) makes it more flattering in my opinion. I wore a little jacket with it to cover my shoulders. I think less is more with this pattern and all these details. That dropped waist made a nice bodice and the pleats make a great skirt.

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

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Adding Some Trim

Hello Readers. Do you have items of clothing that almost works for you but needs a little something? I did. And this beautiful cotton trim was my answer.

I have had this skirt for ages. It is actually the lower half of a dress. I cut the top off when it got too small. I love the elastic waist. It is so nice and light and comfortable. It is so light weight it can be a little too light weight. It blows around in the breeze more than I liked. I didn't wear it often because I was always afraid it would blow up and I would be flashing people. 

It was easy to attach to the bottom of the skirt. It only took a few minutes. This trim is machine washable so I don't have to worry about giving it special care. And it's so thick, I don't think it will need much ironing either. (Full disclosure; my daughter used this trim on something else so I have seen how it held up to real life wear.)

(Actual sewing!)

I love how it turned out. It added just enough weight and structure to the bottom of the skirt to keep it from blowing up in the breeze. It added a little length and it jazzed up the skirt a little too. That's always fun, right?

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

Thursday, July 7, 2016

For The Love Of Crocs

Hello Readers. I am going to start off by telling you how much I love Crocs. You know, the ugly plastic garden shoes. I wear them around the house like slippers. I know they are not very stylish but I love them anyway. They make other more attractive shoes as well. Below you can see my favorite summer shoes. They are from Crocs too. They seem to go with everything, shorts, summer dresses, jeans....anything. I wear them all the time.

But then this happened. The metal fastener in the back of one shoe broke off. I believe it was due to my not unbuckling the strap to take them on and off. I just pull on it and stretch it over my foot. Whatever the cause, I was crushed. I need these shoes until it gets cooler in the fall. I can't wear closed shoes in the heat. I need my sandals. Crocs doesn't offer this style anymore, so I was on my own.

I knew I could find a way to fix this shoe. My first attempt was to use a bit of wire and two buttons. It held together but was not comfortable. I also thought these buttons for jeans might work, but they were not long enough. I had to drive to town and visit the closest fabric store. (I didn't mind at all. I love the fabric store.)

That's where I found this package of rivets for making jeans. It was the longest length they made and I hoped it would work for my shoe.

I came home and got to work. It was a two piece system. They fit together and then with a squeeze they grab and hold on to each other. Forever, I hoped.

The package came with a white plastic piece to hold the rivets together while you hit it with a hammer. That didn't work so I didn't include pictures of that whole effort. These pliers worked great. I just squeezed the two parts of the rivet together and checked to see if they were holding together on their own. 

It worked perfectly. It has been 2 weeks and they are still together. As you can see, the shoe I fixed doesn't match the other exactly. It has a larger silver piece on the back. That's OK. I don't think anyone will notice. No one should be looking at the back of my foot that closely.

I am super happy with this repair. And my feet are happy too. Crocs didn't pay me to say how much I love them. I just wanted to share this on-going project I have been working on.
Now go make, or repair, something fun for yourself.