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*

Refashion: Fleece gloves to handwarmers

(originally published November 20, 2007)

It's getting cold in my studio/workshop/garage. Even if the fog burns off and the day warms up, unless it gets really hot, my workshop stays pretty cool. Which isn't so bad, but my hands get cold and I can't stand cold hands!

I've been coveting a pair of knit handwarmers since last winter and I've got all sorts of fabulous favorites over at Etsy, but I haven't found exactly what I'm looking for in terms of color and style. Then Erin went and knit up a whole batch a couple of weeks ago, and that really put me over the edge! I want to knit some too! I think that project will have to wait, as I am fully consumed by the never-ending knit scarf (which I still love!), and definitely don't have the skills yet for that sort of project.

But as I was thinking about my cold hands, and coveting (as I do), I remembered a pair of Old Navy fleece gloves that I had crammed into a drawer in my dresser. I hardly ever wore them, and I thought I might be able to make them at least partially cute.

I started by cutting off the fingers and thumb.

Then I whipstitched around the cut openings.

I used ordinary embroidery floss...simple.

That was easy, but I still thought they were a bit boring. Initially, I started to embroider little flowers on the top, but my flowers didn't quite turn out the way I visualized, and you can't really draw or trace on fleece, so I had to think of something else.

I cut out little flowers from ivory felt and stitched them to the tops.

And added little faux-pearl beads to the centers, and a little running stitch for the stem...

That's better.

Even toastier with some hot chai! Mmmmm. Perfect!

I think I have a matching fleece scarf crammed into another drawer somewhere...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The story of the reworked, thrifted, denim skirt.

(originally published October 31, 2007)

I can't remember which I found first, the crochet doily's, or the skirt. But remember, this was my recent thrift trip in San Diego a few weeks ago. I had dropped Scott off at work in Rancho Bernardo, and with my handy printout from The Thrift Shopper, spent the day hitting almost every thrift in Rancho Bernardo, Poway & Escondido.

I found the skirt at The Salvation Army in Poway - it's made by Halogen (a Nordstrom brand) and it only cost $3.50. The doily's were found at another thrift in two batches - one for $1.00 and the other was $1.25.

After a good soak in Retro Clean (and a good wash for the skirt), I decided to sew the doily's onto the skirt in some random pattern. The doily's are in various sizes, and some are white, while some are ecru. This didn't matter to me; in fact, for me, it added to the charm.

I used embroidery floss to sew them onto the skirt, mainly because it was heavy, and also because the color blended in - and knowing the kind of hand sewer I am, I knew this would work.

I only used a hoop on a couple of them because they were a little floppy and wouldn't stay flat. As you can also see, some of them were broken in areas. I just continued the line with embroidery. You can't tell...

unless you look very carefully.

It was a good project for me last week, while I was too worried about the fires to concentrate on anything else. And it was almost fitting that this project originated in the very area that we were all so worried about.

Candy was worried too. Sweet girl.

This was a super easy refashion project, anyone could do it! You don't have to use vintage doily's either - I think Michael's and Joann's both carry bulk doily's of different sizes. How funky cute would this be if I had dyed them up before sewing them on? (oooohhh, another project?!) I think the possibilities are endless.

When I finished the skirt, I brainstormed the entire outfit (because I'm wacked like that). I decided to refashion another boring cardigan, just not as drastically (who has time for these things?!). I took a brown Lands' End cardigan, and just changed out the boring grey buttons to some bright white vintage mother-of-pearl buttons I had. Simple Simon.

And the shoes. Oh, the shoes. I've been lusting after a pair of brown Mary Janes for a couple of months. I originally saw these, and while I loved the style, was not sure about the red. So I went with these. As soon as I saw them in person, I realized what a grave mistake I had made. They were almost as boring as the Lands' End cardigan - pre-refashion. It was this photo that turned me around. I *heart* Zappos. Free overnight delivery soothes the instant gratification soul. {do you see the whipstitch detail????!!!!}

My life is complete.

Happy Halloween! Damn...he has a meeting. :( Oh well - I'm still going out to lunch!
I'm hoping to meet my mister for lunch later!