Saturday, September 4, 2010

Refashion: Make your own boyfriend {jeans}...

(originally published March 24, 2010)

It's been SUCh a long time since I've done a refashion. I so needed this.

And really, this is the only way to get exactly what you want, both in a boyfriend, and the jeans. I've been wanting to do this for months, but you can probably guess, I've been uncontrollably lazy lately.

Power through.

I also have an unbelievably difficult time finding jeans that fit me. It has to do with hips, thighs, a bubble butt and a small waist. I am very thankful for the small waist, but it is responsible for a gap of at least 5 inches in most pants I try on. Waaaaaaay too much information, you're thinking. And you're right.

I love all the boyfriend jeans they are showing lately, so I dug into my stash of Levi's 577 that I haven't been wearing much of lately, and decided to sacrifice a pair. The nice thing about this project is that you can do anything you want. I saw a pair of patchwork boyfriend jeans recently, that I loved, and of course, did not fit me, so that was my inspiration.

I gathered together some fabric that mixed up well and my jeans. I decided I wanted them cropped with a rolled hem. After trying them on, and deciding where I wanted them, I hacked the bottom off of both legs and then turned up the hem about a 1/2 inch twice, steamed them good, and pinned.

Then I sewed the hem down, using a contrasting thread in red, just for fun.

Not shown: I then rolled them up 2-1/2 inches, steamed them good again, and sewed about a 1 inch space on the inner & outer seams, so they would [hopefully] stay in place (I'm sure they will need to be pressed after washing to stay flat).

I cut the fabric, freehand, in various uneven squares and a long rectangle, added some Stitch Witchery to the back [to give it some stability - you can skip this, or use whatever you have], and played with the placement of the patches. Then, ironed them in place.

I like little unexpected touches, so on the back of one leg, a few inches above the cuff, I decided to embroider a little bird from my Sublime Stitching pattern stash. My embroidery skills are quite rusty, but I'm into imperfection.

Then, to help the patches POP more, I added some whip-stitching around my patches, which will also help them adhere better since I didn't sew them on. Notice the imperfections :)

Strut your new boyfriend...

This was seriously easy - anybody can do it. Another easy idea is to just crop an old pair of jeans, hem them and then sew on a doily. It's simple and cute.

I think so at least...

Tutorial: Little Girls D-ring Belt Apron

(originally published January 29, 2007)

I get asked, periodically, if I make little girls aprons. I do not. I love them, they're darling, and the little girls wearing them is the cutest picture. I just don't have time, and I find I have to be careful how I diversify and add new products.

However, if you recall last April/May, I did make a whole batch for my little friend Rachel, who was turning 5 and having a tea party birthday. It was so fun, and it was so easy - too easy really, and I'd much rather share how I did it, rather than release a whole line of little sweets.

What I like about this little apron is the belt feature - I used a D-ring ribbon belt as the band/tie, which eliminates the frustration of little fingers trying to tie apron strings. A great tutorial on making a D-ring Ribbon Belt (as well as all the supplies) can be found on the J. Caroline Creative site (also a great resource for lots of fun stuff!) (note: since this was originally posted, J. Caroline has closed their craft supply site. Try Google!).

Really, this is very simple - but first a disclaimer! I have no idea how to write or explain what I do. For this project, I simply made a childs' apron, and snapped photos along the way. It's not perfect, and I'm sure many of you will be able to create something far better then what I am showing. But it's easy and your little girl will be over the moon! This is also a great gift bag item for a birthday party...especially if it's a tea party!

Start with a heavier weight home dec fabric. I suggest prewashing it, and pressing it. You will then cut it into a 16 x 21 piece. Also, assemble matching Extra Wide Double Fold Bias Tape and your ribbon belt (the belt I used is 40" long, finished, but you can make them as long or short as you need to).

Pin the bias tape in place on all three sides (both sides and bottom), leaving the top edge free.

Machine stitch the bias tape in place.


Then, with right side facing up, press the top line of fabric down about 1/2 inch. Alternatively, you can serge the raw edge here, and skip the pressing.

Pin in place, and stitch along the top edge.

When you get to the end of the apron, pivot and stitch down the side to the end of the ribbon and then along the bottom edge, pivot again and stitch to meet up again where you started.

Cut your threads, press, and you are done! Wasn't that easy? Isn't it darling?

Another totally cute and fun thing to do is embroider the girls' names on the apron, as I did for Rachel. You can write their names freehand with quilters chalk and then just go for it!

The story of the remixed {and reworked} Land's End cardigan.

(originally published July 25, 2007)

One of my new favorite pastimes is perusing the wardrobe remix group on Flickr. I mean, how great is that? So many ideas, so much style, so inspiring. Two of my favorite remixers are Graygoosie (who lives here in Southern California!) and Becktress, who is Green Kitchen's sister. Somehow, through them, I found Lorimarsha, who is the supreme remixer and reworker of all garmentry. Granted, it's what she does for a living, but take a look at her designs, they are amazing!

You can also check out the Wardrobe Refashion blog - lots of inspiration and creative ideas! I just found it and I love it!

And I started to think about some of the items in my wardrobe that I liked elements of, but didn't wear often because there were other elements I didn't like. For instance, this green cardigan I bought a couple of years ago from Land's End. It's one of the fine combed cotton twinset cardy's, it's my favorite color (right now), but I mistakenly bought it a size too big, then washed it in the hopes it would shrink all over. It didn't. It only shrank in the arms. So I started rolling them up. But it was still too long.

Boring, boring, boring! So, I decided to rework it. I figured, I couldn't really ruin it, right? I started by removing the buttons, and found some lace I had from another project idea that never happened.

I cut and pinned the lace to the front and stitched very close to the lace edge (not easy since there was a tiny scallop), and back up the other side (which also had a scallop - I ended up going straight up about 1/8" in).

It was still too boring.

Then, I thought, 'what if I cropped it?' The only problem would be the unraveling of the yarn (small problem, right?!). I don't have a serger, nor do I know how to operate one (confession number one). BUT, I remembered that Kelley does have a serger, and knows how to use it! So, I ran over there and put her to work (Again. That poor girl. If she's not teaching me how to crochet, she's sewing for me. Ack!). We measured, we cut, we serged (well, she measured, cut and serged). Thanks again Kelley!

Then I sewed a band of grosgrain ribbon along the bottom and sleeves where we had cut and serged.

Pressed it under and slip stitched it (by hand - I never hand sew...hate it.)(still do).

I thought the bottom was a little swingy still, so I did a little 1" pintuck on the outside of the arms, and sewed a vintage button on for a little decoration.

Which gave me another idea; I was going to do something else to the front, which I still thought was too boring. Remember last week I had Kelley teaching me how to crochet flowers? Well, I was going to sew on little crochet flowers, but I wasn't happy with the way they looked, and didn't want a bunch of different colors. I wanted something subdued and simple, but classic, with an artsy twist (I'm a simple girl after all...) Then I remembered that great Adorn Magazine cover, with the buttons sewn on the collar of a sweater! Perfect! I had a bunch of vintage white buttons that I had bought on eBay years ago for another project that never happened...and layed them out on the sweater until I was happy...

Then I couldn't figure out how I was going to mark exactly where they were so I could sew them on. So I took a pin, put it through the button hole, and gently lifted the button. The pin held my place, while I marked in chalk where to sew the button.

My chalk dots were pretty too...

I sewed on the buttons (by hand, have I mentioned how I dislike hand sewing? I still do.) and then added a hook & eye closure to the top. It's finished! My first reworked garment!

I think I have another boring sweater somewhere...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Tutorial: Lingerie and/or Utility Bag

originally published January 2, 2008)

Happy New Year my dear sweet blog friends! I was cleaning the studio yesterday (I know, *gasp!*), and I came across a bunch of lingerie bags from a while ago when I offered them on my site. I think I pulled them a year ago...they didn't sell well (read: at all), and while it might have been a good idea, perhaps not a good product offering.

In the year since, I've used them in many ways other than their intended purpose. Turns out, they are the perfect size for shoes, and work well when traveling. They are also a fabulous project bag, especially now that I am knitting and have a few things going at once.

They are also quite easy to make, and that is what I want to share with you today!

To start, you'll need about a 1/2 yard of fabric, folded and about a 36" piece of twill tape or ribbon (plus, thread, scissors and...a sewing machine...duh.). I'm using a lightweight linen here. I've made a simple pattern with a 12" x 18" piece of posterboard. Place the posterboard directly on the fabric with one edge on the fold.

Trace pattern directly onto fabric, and then cut out. You'll end up with a long rectangle of fabric when open.

If you are using a plain fabric (like I am here), you can easily embellish the bag later with embroidery, stencils, patchwork or little die-cut pieces of fabric. I think I'll add some fun die-cut fabric pieces. I found some simple shapes online and printed them out to make a little pattern, and then cut them out of some fun fabric.

(Not shown: I also used the die-cut patterns to cut out a piece of double-sided interfacing to help adhere the die-cuts to the linen later.) Put these aside for now.

Next, take your main fabric, open it, and with the wrong side facing you, press the top 4 inches of the sides in. That's not articulated very well, but check out the photo above and below, and do like that! You don't have to measure with this project, just eyeball it.

Do this on all four corners/sides. Then, press down the two top edge pieces about 2 inches from the top. You could serge this if you want, I did not.

Next, sew this piece down about 1/4" from the cut edge.

Then, using your sewing machine guide, sew across again with a 3/4" seam allowance. By doing this, you are creating a little tube for the drawstring.

Next, remember your cute embellishment? Now is the time to attach it. If you are using a die-cut piece of fabric, first adhere it to the right side of the fabric with lightweight double-sided fusible interfacing.

You can then embellish it further with embroidery - I whipstitched around the bra & bikini shown above (but forgot to take a picture of it! sorry!).

Then, turn the piece wrong side out, matching up the top pieces, and begin stitching the sides together below the last horizontal stitch line. You can start at the 1/4" seam allowance guide on your machine, because that turned in portion at the top will end, and you will continue at 1/2" seam allowance down the side of the bag. *Just remember not to start at the very, tippy top of the bag or your won't be able to insert your drawstring!

If you'd like, you can clip the bottom corner of the bag. Then turn it right-side out and press.

Take your twill tape or a piece of ribbon and attach a safety pin...

insert it into the second opening at the top and pull it through to the end. Then, insert it into the other side and continue pulling it through.

Make a little knot at the end so that little guy doesn't go anywhere...

Cinch it tight, and you are done!

Oh, look. Now I have three new utility bags! A lingerie bag, a shoe bag, and (*slaps forehead*) a knitting project bag!

I know which one I'll be using!

I hope you try this! Contrary to my super anal instructions, it's very, very, very easy! Enjoy!

The Refashioned $3 Thrifted Jacket

(originally published November 12, 2008)

It's about time, right? About six months ago, I picked up this cute, cropped jacket for $3. Yes, that's right, THREE DOLLARS.

I loved the color and the woven houndstooth design - it's fully lined as well. I didn't like the buttons; they were covered in the same material with a goldish rim around the edge.

And it looks like there might have been a belt at one time, because there are little loops about 5" up from the bottom.

As soon as I saw it, I knew what I wanted to do.

I thought the houndstooth pattern would look fun if it were appliqued with a big, bold floral pattern - and Heather Bailey's new Pop Garden was perfect, the hardest part was deciding on the colorway.

Since I was going to be cutting out the flowers, I really wanted a strong *pop*. This was a little too dark.

This was a little too bright for me.

Ah, this was just right!

I decided to start with the back, and I cut out the big floral bunch in a rectangle so there was extra fabric around the bunch of flowers. I cut and ironed the same size of Stitch Witchery (double-sided) interfacing to the piece of fabric, and then cut out the floral bouquet I wanted to use.

I positioned it on the back of my jacket, pinned it, pressed it,

and then sewed it on just using a straight stitch (wrangling all those turns!).

The front needed some color as well, so I did the same with the smaller flowers in the fabric pattern:

Now, I could turn my attention to the button situation.

After going through my stash of vintage buttons, I decided some of the beautiful rhinestone buttons I had been hoarding for years would be put to good use here.

At this point, I decided to make things complicated for myself. I thought the centers of those gorgeous flowers would look extra sparkly if they were beaded. So, with no beading experience, and a complete disdain for handsewing, I decided to add little *pops* of beading...ugh.

It does look cute - it was a good idea. HOWEVER, sewing beads onto fabric that has already been interfaced and then sewn to an already heavy piece of fabric (a woven with a lining) proved very difficult.

If you think you'll want to add beading to a project, try to do it while the piece is still raw. I beaded all the flowers on the front, and just a few on the back before I ran out of patience.

But still, I'm pretty happy with the end result!

After all, it was just a $3 jacket. *wink*