Friday, May 31, 2019

Softening Denim & A No-Sew Cold-Shoulder Top

Hello Readers. I wanted to do an experiment. I read online that you could soften denim with salt water. Was it true? (Short version - Not really, no. Don't do it.)

I found these stiff jeans at a clothes swap and it turned out that they were not very comfortable. They were young men's jeans and very heavy weight denim. I thought I could break them in and make them more comfortable. I also wanted to do something with this shirt that was making me look 5 months pregnant. I liked the stripes but the fit was awful.
Why shirt? Why do you hate me?
I cut them off into shorts because they were so thick and unbending to wear as pants. I figured less denim could only help.

I followed the directions I found using Google by adding salt to a gallon of water and...

soaked the shorts for a few hours. I couldn't feel any change to the fabric. I soaked the shorts longer.  And longer. After 3 days of soaking, I gave up.

The directions also said you could use your washing machine. DO NOT DO THIS! I added salt to the wash like soap and washed the shorts. My washing machine got very upset and refused to work at all. I eventually got it working again but I thought it really might be dead. The shorts didn't feel much softer to me. I can't call this salt idea a success.
I wanted to make the shirt a cold shoulder top. I cut the shoulders out and used scraps of the shirt to tie at the neck and sleeve to gather the fabric.

The shirt is like a tank top with little sleeves that hang down. They look like little bows with the ties on them. I took the sides of the shirt in a little to help it fit better too.

Are the shorts softer now? Maybe, but not much, but it was not worth the fear I experienced thinking that I broke the washer. They just look like basic denim cut-offs. All I can say about them is, "Blah."
 The shirt was fun and different for summer. With the shirt resized and tucked in I don't look pregnant anymore.

Thanks for reading along, now go make something fun for yourself. 
But DO NOT put salt in your washer!
 ***Year End update-All I can say is I learned not to put salt in the washer. I ended up with plain out cut offs. I was not impressed.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Make a Pattern & Make Shorts

Hello Readers. I did something new and different recently. I made my own pattern and used it to make the pair of shorts you see below. I have used patterns but I have never made a pattern before. It was fun and I learned a lot.

Check out this amazing dress. It was so cute and the pattern was amazing. It was a little big and the back was very open and strappy. It was impossible to wear a bra that didn't look awful. I decided to make this dress into something else.

 I found a blog post about making a pattern for shorts based on your measurements. I just had to measure myself. I made some dots and lines on a piece of paper and I had a pattern. It felt similar to geometry. You can see the instructional post at "The 31 Woman" here.
My daughter helped me quite a bit.
I thought I would have enough fabric in this dress to make the shorts. It was almost impossible, but I made it work. I cut out the 4 panels and stitched them all together. I put a zipper on the side and I had a pair of shorts. A wild pair of shorts.

  A truly wild pair of shorts. There are lots of flowers but can you see some chickens? There are also a few giraffes, fish, and bunnies.

I also made a t-shirt to go with the shorts.

I cut out a basic shirt shape from the body of this shirt.

I used the finished edging of the sleeves to make my sleeves look finished too. I just reattached the edges to the sleeves of the new shirt. 

My outfit was done. I learned a lot by making the pattern myself.

Thanks for reading along, now go make something fun for yourself.
***Year End update-I loved these shorts. They looked like Lilly Pulitzer and were just so much fun to wear. The shirt was one of those tops I didn't know I needed until I had it.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Pink and Purple

Hello Readers. Today's post is about 2 shirts that each needed some help. I worked on them at the same time so I am writing about them at the same time. It's a two-fer today.

Here are the 2 shirts. One is a pink t-shirt. It was bright and cheerful but pretty basic. The problem was with that deep V-neck. Why so low??
The other shirt is a purple cotton tunic that was very light weight and perfect for summer. I loved the material and colors. The problem? It was getting so old, it had some worn spots that didn't look very nice.

Let's start with the purple shirt. It also had a deep V-neck and it was getting really worn out. I liked the shirt so much, I wanted to fix it. I stitched the deepest part of the V-neck closed. The worn spots are all inside. No one knows they are there.
 Well, no one but you.

The picture on the left is one of the long sleeves. It was really worn out. My solution was to cut the sleeves as short as needed to get rid of all the worn areas. I turned the edges under and stitched them down. Now they were always short sleeves. I also shortened the entire shirt because bottom edge had a few rough spots too.

Here is a look at what was removed from the purple shirt. 

I basically cut off or hid all the bad spots of this shirt. It turned out well and it is still just as soft and comfortable.

The pink shirt was easy to fix. I took a small piece of purple material from the first shirt, that was not damaged, and used it to fill in the deep V of the pink shirt.

It filled in the V-neck well and the pink shirt isn't so revealing anymore.

Thanks for reading along, now go make something fun for yourself.
***Year End update- This purple shirt was so nice and light in the summer heat. And it didn't seem to need ironing. The pink was such a happy color. I love that one too.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The Dressy Bathing Suit

Hello Readers. Let me start by apologizing or the glaring pale skin you are seeing on your screen. Do not adjust your device, I am that fair skinned. It can't be changed, it is what it is. I can't tan. I don't try.
So, by now you have figured out that I made a bathing suit top from this dress. Let me tell you the why and the how of this project.

Here is a cute dress that was passed on to me from Jessica P. (Thanks!) I liked the dress a lot and it fit well through the body. It was stretchy and it would never wrinkle so I originally planned to shorten the straps and keep it as a dress. I didn't do that because I got an idea for this bathing suit top. It was a stretchy nylon/lycra/polyester type fabric that felt like bathing suit fabric to me.
 I never like swim suits from the store. They are always too low cut, too expensive, and they never fit quite right. Maybe I could make this into a bathing suit top I would really like.

Here is a look at the inside of the dress. It had 2 layers of fabric so, it didn't need a lining. And those 2 layers are just what I needed for the next step. See the big seam just under the bodice?

 I cut a small slit in the bodice just above the seam. I only cut the inside layer. Why? I needed to insert breast cups. I am 47, and I have 3 kids, I breast-fed them all. I need some coverage and support in the chest area if you know what I mean. 2 layers of fabric is nice but not enough for me.

The slit is to insert these molded breast cups in each side, between the 2 layers of the dress. You can buy these cups at the fabric store but I removed these from a bralette because I didn't want the extra padding. I didn't know what I would do with them until this day. They will provide some support and coverage in the chest.

I folded them up and slid them in. I shifted them around until they seemed to be in the right places.

I used that big seam again to cover the slits I had cut. I just pulled the seam up and over the cuts and hand sewed it. I also stitched the molded cups to the seam and the inside layer of the dress, all at the same time. They won't move or shift around.

The next step was to cut the skirt off. I wanted a little ruffle to come down far enough to make sure my stomach never saw the light of day. It matched the high-waisted black bottoms I already had. I also shortened the straps.
The top crossed over itself so I stitched it closed to keep it from being too low. I want to play with my 4 year old and stay covered. (I don't want any wardrobe malfunctions.)

When I said I wanted to play with my 4 year old I meant it. I won't be swimming the English Channel in this. If I was an athlete (I'm not.) and swam vigorously (No.), I might need a different bathing suit. This top is full coverage and that's what I wanted.
No diving!

Thanks for reading along, now go make something fun for yourself.
***Year End Update-This suit was great all summer. It really did well with all the water sun and wear.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Why Not White Jeans?

Hello Readers. I found some beautiful white jeans from Banana Republic at a clothes swap. I was happy because the seemed like they had never been worn. I like the look of white denim but I would never buy white jeans and I would never buy them from Banana Republic. I will happily take them for free though.

Why not buy them you ask? Because of these 2 rascals right here. Combined they are a sweet 200 lbs of mess and mud.White clothes are going to get dirty quick so I wouldn't spend money on them. (And Banana Republic is fabulous but a little too spendy for me.) So what a treat to find these white jeans.

They are both watching a cat outside.

I also found this super-soft red and white striped shirt. It also looked to be in great condition and I thought it would be a bright fun spring outfit. If only the jeans fit a little better and the top didn't make me look 4 months pregnant. Loose flowy tops can be difficult for me to wear. This faux pregnancy look is usually what happens.

Tunics are not my friend.

It is warm enough for short sleeves so I made those and hemmed the edges under. I also took in the sides of the shirt. I made it a little smaller and tried it on to see how it looked.

I made the jeans fit a little better. I thought I would want to keep the straight legs you see in the picture below but when I tried them on I changed my mind and went for skinny jeans. I usually try things on and even wear them for a day to see if I like them. I decide to change things quite often.

I liked the jeans but after wearing this top for a day I wasn't sure about it. I liked it tucked in but it was still so long, there was a lot to tuck.

I decided to shorten all the way around, leaving 2 long pieces in the front. I tied a  little knot it in the front. It gave it a more casual vibe.

***   BONUS TRACK   ***
My daughter had 2 seersucker items in the same fabric and felt like it was too much.  People might think she had some weird seersucker obsession.

She bought some gray dye. And...

It changed the look of the skirt enough that she was happy.

So, no seersucker obsessions, but we might be obsessed with dye.
Thanks for reading along, now go make something fun for yourself.
 *Year end update- I still love these white jeans. They are one of my favorites.