Thursday, April 25, 2013

Updating clothes you already own

The last three days I have been obsessed with reading through Refashionista's Blog.  Jillian did a 366 day challenge where she refashioned clothes she already owned or got at thrift stores or Goodwill and re-purposed them.  Mind blown.  I finally made it through all of the posts this morning and am sooo inspired to do this myself with some of my clothes.

I started THREE sewing projects yesterday.  One was an EPIC fail that could not be salvaged (that's what happens when you get cavalier about pinning without measuring!  And I have very little patience for seam ripping.  Or pretty much anything.)  The other started to be too hard to deal with.  The third one I started and had to come back to a few hours later.  It's amazing what a break in time can do for your creativity--coming back to a project you're stuck on later, in a different room, under a different lamp, different time of day, different music, etc., can totally change your project.

Here's what it started out as.  A pretty maxi dress that is strapless.  Which means I basically wore it once and realized that ladies with huge cans cannot wear strapless dresses.

 The top part is smocked.
And up close of the skirt.
 First I cut the smocked part off of the rest of the dress.  I cut above the lining because I thought I would reuse it.

 But in the end, the lining had to go.  The dress is pretty sheer without it--I'm wearing a slip with the dress right now until I get the time to line it (or what I like to call a time also known as NEVER).
 I pinned my top hem.
 Sewed.

 Next came the smocked top that I was going to use for straps.  I "fake" surged on either side of the seam on both sides before I cut so that the elastic thread would more likely hold.


 Then I sewed the raw edge on the new straps.
 I pinned the straps to the dress and sewed.
 Here's the other side.

 Boom!  Straps to a strapless dress!
 Very hard to take photos of self in the mirror.  It looks better in person.




Saturday, April 20, 2013

Acrylic Color Block Painting

We currently have three things hanging on our beige walls.  (We moved into our house 13 months ago).  The only one I made was an acrylic color block painting that is hanging in our powder room downstairs.

Supplies:
1)  Canvas;
2)  2 acrylic paint colors;
3)  Fat paint brushes (I used the sponge ones);
4)  Painters tape;
5)  Hanging mechanism (I used pushpins because the canvas was so light).

Instructions:

1)  Paint your white canvas with a base color.  This will be the color that gets "blocked" by the tape and ends up being the accent color as opposed to the dominant color.  I would recommend that you make the blocked base color lighter than your top coat, otherwise you will be spending a ton of time painting and repainting the top coat to cover a dark bottom.  You can also use spray paint if you have a big canvas--I did that for another project where I did an acrylic base that was blue and then spray painted white over it.

 2)  Block the pattern you want with the painter's tape.  I went with a geometric shape but you can also make any sort of cool interior design--a cameo maybe?

 3)  Start to paint your top coat in between the spots that the tape leaves.
 Here is is all painted:
 4)  Let the paint dry for a few minutes--that's what great about acrylics--they dry soooo fast!  Then peel off the painters tape:

 5)  Hang.  This is the blank wall in the bathroom that we wanted to add something to.  I've been on a gray kick lately and thought it would look nice on our beige walls.



Here are some pictures of the color block I did with the spray paint:




I had to do a lot of coats of spray paint.





Thursday, April 18, 2013

$10 Revamp to an old cardigan in 30 minutes!

My friend Kara recently dyed one of her stained sweaters and it gave me the idea to revamp some of my old cardigans I wasn't wearing.  I went into SF with my friend Quynh and we stopped by Britex (a super cool but VERY expensive craft and sewing store).  On the third floor I found some awesome gray velvet trim with a lace backing.


The velvet side is the "front" but the lace backing was too beautiful not to photograph.  It's this gray/green color.  I purchased 2 yards for $5/yard--totally worth it!  You could also buy a less expensive ribbon like a thick grosgrain which would be just as cute and cheaper.  Or dazzle it up more with fancier trim.  It's really up to you and your budget.

Supplies:
1)  Old cardigan;
2)  Scissors;
3)  Seam ripper (optional);
4)  Trim (at least 2 yards--measure around the neck of your cardigan and along the lengths where the buttons and button holes are--it will depend on how long your cardi is or what size--measure before you get your yardage cut!!!!!!!)
5)  Sewing machine (you can hand sew too but it will take forever plus a bottle of wine and some trashy tv);
6)  Corresponding thread (top thread should match your trim and bobbin thread should match your cardi);

Instructions:

1)  Select and old cardigan and a trim that you love.  Try the cardi on to make sure it fits.  If you hate the color, dye it first before you do the trim work.

I chose a cheap Old Navy sweater I have two of (you know--just in case I ruined it).


 2)  Start by removing the buttons from the sweater.  I used a scissor but you can also use a seam ripper (which I recommend--I have NO idea where my 52,401 seam rippers are in my craft room--I must buy one every time I go into JoAnn's but honestly, I am not the most organized person so I went with scissors!).
 3)  Once all of the buttons are removed, pin the trim around the neck of the cardigan, tucking about 3/4 of an inch of the trim into the interior of the cardi.
 4)  Sew along the edge closest to the neck edge first.  DON'T FORGET TO USE THE TRIM COLOR IN YOUR TOP THREAD AND YOUR CARDIGAN COLOR IN YOUR BOBBIN THREAD.
 5)  Then sew along the other edge of the trim that is farther away from your neck line.

 Here's what the neck looks like--you could have also kept your buttons on except the top button and just did the neck trim.  It's really up to what you want to do--experiment!  It's great to buy some thrift store sweaters or some cheap sale sweaters to practice on.  This was my first one I did and it did not turn out as perfectly as I wanted it to....but I'm sure by the 4th one it will be fabulous!
 6)  Pin the formerly button side, or button hole side and sew like the neck. 

TIP:  THE SIDE THAT HAD THE BUTTON HOLES PROBABLY HAS SOME SORT OF RIBBON OR BIAS TAPE THAT IS ALREADY AFFIXED TO THAT SIDE WHICH WILL MAKE THAT SIDE ONE LENGTH AND THE SIDE WITH THE BUTTONS STRETCHIER.  MAKE SURE YOU ACCOUNT FOR THE DIFFERENCE WHEN YOU SEW AND TRY AND KEEP THE STRETCHY SIDE TAUGHT SO YOU DON'T END UP WITH TWO DIFFERENT LENGTH CARDI SIDES (ahem yes that happened with this sweater....)
 7)  Here's the final product (without the length discrepancy which I am shamefully hiding from you).
It's such an easy and fun project and can really transform the simplest cardigan to be something special. 


Using a dollar store pool noodle to make a wreath

I have recently discovered the dollar store and am sort of in love.  I saw something on Pinterest about making a wreath form using a foam pool noodle and had to try it. 

You will need:
1)  Scissors;
2)  Pool noodle;
3)  Glue gun and glue;
4)  Yarn;
5)  Felt.

 Start by pulling the two ends of your wreath form together to make a circle.  It really helps if you have another person holding the ends together while you tape but it's not impossible to do it by yourself. 
 Tape the ends with duct tape.
 Secure the juncture with more duct tape.
 Start wrapping your yarn around the noodle.  For more instructions, see my previous post about making a twine and felt wreath.  I have since found that it's faster if you wrap the ENTIRE wreath with duct tape first as opposed to just that one area.  The yarn slides better alone the noodle when it's slick as opposed to when it's on the rubbery foam part.  I actually used duct tape to secure it and then clear packaging tape to make it smooth.  Try it out and see what works best--the noodles are only a dollar!
 Here's what the noddle looked like covered
 And then I started putting on my felt flowers.
 Close shot!  I used one sheet each of a 9x12 piece of felt.
 Here's the finished product hanging on our door right now.  It's sort of a "Happy Spring/Anti-DOMA/Pro Marriage Equality Wreath."