Friday, September 22, 2017

A Shirt Skirt

Hello Readers. I have been sewing and refashioning when I can, as usual. It was and is with some success and some failure. Today's post is 50% success and 50% failure. 

I started with these two shirts. They were both in great shape but they were a little big. The gray T-shirt was too low in the front and the colorful top was a little too big all over.

I started with the colorful top. It had cute ruffles at the bottom. (Is it leopard print? I think it is, but I am not 100% sure.) I cut the arms and shoulders off. The body of the shirt will make a great skirt.

I used this wide black elastic as the waistband. I used a zigzag stitch to attach it to the shirt. It only took a few minutes.

The finished skirt looked like this. It was simple but it worked. That was good enough for me.

This is pretty good. I'll take it.

The gray shirt was too low and I wanted to raise the neck line. I thought if I gathered and overlapped the neckline it would cinch together. I figured this would raise the neckline up and it would fit better. I sewed it in place but when I was done, I didn't think the neckline was laying very flat.

I tried to attach these little snaps to distract from the wonky neckline of this shirt. They had little prongs on the back. I hit them with a hammer and the prongs attached and dug into the fabric. They seemed to help a little.

Well, the neckline did end up higher than it was before. The failure was that I didn't foresee that the gathering would just make the shirt cling to my chest in an obscene and tight manner. It was really not a good style for me. I was really uncomfortable with how much of my chest was being emphasized.

This is not very good. This is not very good at all.

So, the gray shirt was not working for me, but I really liked the skirt. I think when I wear it I will pick out a different top, like this simple black sweater. I found this cashmere sweater at a clothes swap and it was missing a button. I was going to replace all the buttons but when I looked inside there was a spare button. It was such a simple fix, and now I had a great cashmere sweater.

This works for me. 

Thanks for reading, now go make something fun for yourself.
And don't worry about occasional failures, they happen to everyone.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

To Sleeve Or, Not To Sleeve

Hello Readers. Sometimes I get an idea for a refashion and that's it. I just stick with the idea. And then sometimes the plan evolves and changes as I work. Today's project is one of those. I had new ideas as I worked and just went with it.

I started with these 2 shirts. I liked them but they were both a little big, not a lot, just a little. A few small tweaks would have fixed them. But the color schemes were so similar that I wanted to put them together somehow. I decided to make a dress. The sleeveless top fit well through the body, it just needed to have shorter shoulder straps. I fixed that with out taking pictures. It would have made a tight skirt so it was an easy decision to use the paisley top as the skirt.

This patterned top was looser so I thought it would make the best/loosest skirt. I didn't want a tight skirt. I cut the body of the shirt off right under the arms. 

I took some thin elastic and threaded it through the bottom, factory-made hem of the shirt. 

It looked like this with the elastic inserted. I will flip it over and that elastic is now the waistband. It was easy. It just needed a hem along the raw cut edge.

It looked like this. It was perfect for the warm weather we had that day. I really liked the pattern mixing and it was super comfortable. I started thinking that without sleeves, it wouldn't really work in cooler weather. 

And since I still had those sleeves......

I decided to attach the sleeves to the sleeveless shirt and see how it looked. I just stitched over the armhole seam of the striped top.

 I think I could wear it into the cooler days ahead now. What do you think? Should I have added the sleeves or not?

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

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Cactus Pillow That Scared My Kids

Hello Readers. I really wanted to make a cute pillow for my daughter, she likes anything with cacti on it. I had this colorful, wool, zip-front sweater with a lot of green in it that I thought would make a cute cactus shaped pillow.
 I was wrong dear readers. So wrong.

I washed the sweater in hot water and dried it in the dryer on high. That caused the sweater to shrink a little and tightened the weave of the sweater. It is easy to cut and create new things with wool sweaters like this.
I cut out a cactus shape. The zipper is still down the front.

Here is my cactus shape. I eventually made the limbs a little shorter and stitched all the way around the edges. The raw edges were a little rough so that it would look like the needles of a cactus.
It was at this point my older son said it looked like a scarecrow reaching out to grab someone. 

I stuffed it with all of the cut off scarps and put it on my daughters bed along and I couldn't get the scary scarecrow idea out of my head. I asked my daughter what she thought. She said she hoped she didn't wake up in the night to see it leaning over her in a threatening manner. She also saw the limbs reaching out to get her. 

This was a fail with everyone but the dog, he seems unafraid of the scary pillow. The projects I make can't all be winners. And this pillow proves it. Oh, well.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Army Vest

Hello Readers. 
I have been liking and wanting a military style sleeveless jacket/vest since last year. I couldn't find one that fit me very well. They were too long on me and I didn't want to buy something at retail prices. It didn't occur to me to make my own until my daughter decided she didn't want these army green pants anymore. 
These pants were just the right color and they had great pockets too. I started looking all over Pinterest to find ideas for turning pants into a vest. There were a lot of ideas. I was inspired by this picture. It looked easy to adjust to the pants I had to work with.

Here are the green pants. They had a basic zipper and button closure at the waist. There was also an internal drawstring at the waist that I used later. The drawstrings at the bottom of the legs guided this entire project. Keep reading to see how.

I started by cutting the legs off and cutting them open along the sides. I just followed the side seam. There was an opening for the drawstrings on the sides, so they were not damaged by cutting the legs open.

I then put the two legs together so I had one big piece of fabric. It doesn't look like a vest yet.

I flipped it upside down. Now the drawstring is at the top. It will make a great collar/neckline. But it still doesn't look like a vest.

Here is a close up of the side. I didn't make a round armhole. I opened the seam and then stitched the raw edges back down. It will make a nice armhole. This wouldn't work on formal tailored clothing but on a casual jacket with a looser fit it will work well.

The next step was to add some pockets. I cut them off the back of the pants and left about 1/4 inch around them. 

I used an iron to press the raw cut edges under the pocket. 

I used my machine to stitch over the seams already around the pocket. I was just sewing over the seam that was there. It was an easy way to attach the pockets and avoid taking them apart. 

Here is the finished vest. It is a nice layering piece for cooler days. 
The drawstring is pulled together the back to make the shoulders fit well. The front of the drawstring is looser, forming a collar of sorts.
The narrow tie at the waist is actually the drawstring from inside the waistband. It is stitched down on the sides. It was a quick and easy matching belt to close the vest.

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

Friday, September 8, 2017

Maxed Out Four

Hello Readers. Today is the 4th and last of the maxi-skirt/dress series. I found this plaid rayon skirt quite a while ago. I thought the long plaid skirt was OK, but I didn't love it. It just seemed dowdy. I thought it would be a challenge to make it into something more fun. 

This just OK skirt was actually a fake wrap skirt. That gave me some extra fabric to play with. It was also in great condition and made of good quality fabric. It had a lot going for it, it just needed help coming out of it's shell a little.

I started by spreading out the skirt and I had enough fabric to make some loose fitting shorts. I thought shorts would be a fun way to use this plaid print. I used a lot of the fabric from the bottom of the skirt but that left the top of the skirt untouched.

I used the top of the skirt to make a matching top. I also made two shoulder straps and stitched them in place. You can see in the picture below the waistband with the button still intact. I used it as my new top but decided sew the wrap part closed. It was not a real wrap skirt so it wouldn't fly open but it needed to lay flat to be a top. 

This was an easy outfit to make because it had such a loose relaxed fit. I wanted it to look like a fun little romper but I didn't have a pattern for that. I also don't like to remove ALL of my clothes to use the bathroom the way you need to with a romper. It is just a little inconvenient to completely undress so many times through the day. 

I love this outfit. I wish I had made this outfit ages ago, it is as comfortable as pajamas. It turned out very chilly this morning so I had to winterize it with some tights and a sweater but I still love it.

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

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Maxed Out Three

Hello Readers. Today is part 3 of my Maxed Out series. The maxi skirt I am going to show you today is a very pretty cream color skirt with a light sheer overlay. It was SO long. I couldn't even walk around in it. If you check the before picture below on the left, it looks like I have no feet. I don't know who was intended to wear this, but they are a lot taller than me. Even high-heels wouldn't have fixed this.

I decided to go shorter (Much shorter!) with this skirt because it was so delicate and light in color. I thought it was pretty but not very practical for a mom of a toddler.
I had to cut the whole thing to a shorter length. I decided to cut it so the sheer layer was just a bit longer than the lining underneath. This would make it about knee length and I thought that would be good for me. Now I just needed to hem the skirt.

(Oh, look, I do have feet.)

I didn't do any sewing to make a new hem. I used a lighter. Before I used the lighter I got the fire extinguisher and put it close by. I was trying to be safe because I was literally playing with fire.
I also researched how different fabrics/fibers burn. You can check this video for more information.

I went to an area that was open and well ventilated. With out any small children, pets or flammable substances around.
I used the lighter and "brushed" the flame along the raw edge of the fabric. This is polyester so it caused the edge to melt in on itself. I tried not to keep the flame in one spot too long, or it would melt too much of the fabric and take a little bite out of the edge. You can see in the picture below on the right where I overdid it on one spot.

I really liked the finished look. It made a very light hem. It stayed light weight because I didn't make a traditional hem by folding the fabric under and stitching the layers of the hem down. It has a lot of movement and I felt a little like a ballerina while I was wearing it. 

Thanks for reading, the next time will be the final Maxed Out post.
Go make something fun for yourself.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Maxed Out Two

Hello Readers. It is time for the second in the maxi-dress/skirt series. I came across a cute knit dress at a clothes swap. You don't try things on at clothes swaps, you just look at the clothes and if you like it, you take it. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't. This dress was so soft and stretchy, I didn't realize it was going to be SO tight. And it was tight y'all. It was so tight that I just couldn't post the full image for the whole internet. 
(I have kids, what if they run for president, and someone finds this picture of their mom is some crazy, tight,  jail-striped dress that showed all my personal lumps and bumps? I couldn't live with that.)  

This dress was so tight that even my dog was disturbed by it, and he refused to look at me.

I decided I really liked the material of this dress. It was soft, casual and very comfortable. I cut off the top part of the dress. That left the bottom of the dress which was bigger and fuller

I folded in the cut edge and made a casing for elastic.

I love this skirt, it is the softest fabric and I love the stripes. It was great for lounging on the hammock. (Y'know, how moms lounge. That is a joke. I was on this hammock for about 30 seconds.)

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