Tuesday, May 22, 2012

flowey dress

Well, my fav store Fancy Tiger was having a 50% off sale on rayon cotton fabric. It's SO beautiful. I picked the most beautiful one for a dress. Using what I learned from experience and Improv Sewing, I went to work. From my practice run on shirts from Goodwill, I learned that if the fabric isn't really stretchy, my pattern would be too small. So I grabbed a dress out of my closet and laid it out. 

See the dress here, next to the beautiful fabric (wrong side out, so you can't really tell)

Then I folded the dress in half, lengthwise and laid my pattern that I made from my Gap T over it. See the difference?

My apprentice worked hard too

I took note that the difference between my pattern and my black dress was about from my fingertip to palm and cut accordingly.

Here's the cut.

I added sleeves. Cutting generously around the pattern as I had done with the body of the dress.

Here's how it looks. Eeeew. Not my style. 

Here it is with a belt. It looks much better, but the last 2 dresses I've made have been this shape and worn with this belt-and I'm no one trick pony!

I decided to re-think the style. How could I take this gorgeous fabric and make this dress wearable? I've noticed a trend in hemlines recently-short in front and long in back. That was one easy fix.

I put the dress on, cut a small slit in the center of the front right about where I wanted the hem to go up to. I took the dress off, turned it inside out and cut a gradual line from where I had made the cut, gradually going outward, down the the side seams.

Additionally, I cut off the sleeves and added cute ties and a matching wrap around and around and around belt. Here's the final result. So flowey and pretty!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Hey Lady, nice sweatshirt!

At work, everyone was given a staff sweatshirt for Christmas:

I've been giving a makeover to some. And here's more reverse applique fun for this one. First thing I did was cut the sleeves to 3/4 length, cut the neck into a slight V and cut off the bottom elastic.

Next I did the reverse applique. I had some leftover jersey from my dress and thought it would look nice with the hood fabric I picked and the blue of the sweatshirt.

I turned the sweatshirt inside out and laid the jersey over it

I wanted to do the reverse applique with my friend's name. Fortunately I remembered before I started that I would need to write her name in REVERSE to make it work. Then I sewed over the lines for the letters.

Next I flipped it over and cut off the inside of the letters exposing the pink under it. It wasn't easy to separate the blue from the pink, but I was careful.

I thought the letters look a little unfinished so I zigzaged around it.

Finally I attached the hood.

It needed something on the front, so I added a bird, of course!

Here it is on Hursta herself!!!


Goodwill Outlet

Well. There's a back way to Costco from my house. It's a road that goes by the Platte River and by several factories (including a brick factory!). One day a new sign caught my eye.

I googled it to see what this meant. It means what you think it means: all that stuff that doesn't sell at goodwill ends up here. In these bins:

Hats in with sheets in with sweaters in with shoes. It's crazy. AND you pay by the pound!

I decided to check it out with a specific purpose-another project from my new book Improv Sewing. The "armies" project looked so easy that I had to try it and figured I could find a sweater for super cheap at the outlet.
I dug through the bins and found a plain black sweater from Old Navy. The total came to $1.02. I know it's a bargain, but I kind of feel like I could have found the same deal with less work on a 50% off day at the regular thrift store. Just saying.

Now on to the "armies"
Super easy. I cut off the sleeves, blanket stitched up the ends, cut holes for my thumbs and put them on. That's it. Because of the material (you know, Old Navy sweater material) I think they could be better, but they look pretty good and on a chilly day like today, they're perfect!

Reverse Applique

I was inspired by InStyle magazine telling me that denim vests are BACK!

Look-there's Jessica Alba wearing a flowey dress with a denim vest!

I went to the thrift store and picked up a denim jacket for $4. I immediately cut off the sleeves. It was a little boxy and made me look ...I don't know a little less Alba and a little more

I went home and went to work. First I took in the side seams to make it more fitted. Then I took some inspiration from this guy:

He's cute, but look at his shirt. SKULL! I found a tutorial online for a reverse applique of a skull and will show you how I used it here:

So the first thing I did was pick fabric from my scrap pile and laid it on the INSIDE of my denim vest.

Then I drew a skull on a piece of paper.

 I didn't have any interfacing on hand so I used muslin for stability. I cut out my paper skull and traced it on to the muslin. 

Then I sewed over the drawing (like tracing it with thread, if you will). It used my free-hand presser foot-there's a name for it that I can't remember. It's for quilting, etc. It definitely takes some practice, so I went back to my regular presser foot. 
Next, I flipped it over and cut right along the stitch lines-very carefully so I only cut the denim and not the fabric underneath. See how it exposes the pretty fabric, yet looks so rockin' at the same time?

It's starting to look like a skull!

I finished by adding two flower eyes from another scrap fabric and now it looks like this! I'll add a better picture when I can. This picture was taken by a 4 year old...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Cowl Neck shirt

Here's my latest project-the cowl neck shirt.
Look closely-those sleeves are upside-down. Whoops! The part that is supposed to be the cuff is sewed to the shoulder seam. I think it looks fine, so I'm just going with it.

Here's the trickiest part about sewing with jersey-the stretch stitch. The stretch stitch takes twice as long as the regular stitch and uses lots of thread. For me, though the worst part is that it's less forgiving. I've come to accept that in every single project I do, I will make a mistake and need to rip out a seam. The stretch stitch is very difficult to rip out.

Anyway, I'm not sure I'm done with this shirt. It's kind of plain. I might add some embroidery? I'm not sure. Either way, it's a nice shirt that cost about $6.

Up next. A simple jersey dress! Can't wait!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Improv Sewing obsession

I discovered a new book, Improv Sewing and it's perfect for me! This book is all about just sewing. I love making clothes but hate using patterns. The premise of the book is basically that you cut up a well fitting shirt (I have 2 I cut up-one old one from H&M and one with a hole in it from the gap) and from there you make a pattern.
After I bought the book (and mingled with the authors at the book release and demo at Fancy Tiger) I raced home and made this dress:

Here are some cute details I added at the bottom:

It was so easy to make and fits great. And, who doesn't love jersey? It's like wearing pjs.

Yesterday I had a chance to really dive into the book. I took their suggestion and ran to the thrift store at lunch. I got 3 men's XL t shirts and a twin size sheet that's made out of some sort of jersey-stretchy stuff. I got all of this material for just $11. Last night I sewed 2 t shirts. One was a success, one wasn't (but at this price, who cares?).
Here's the shirt that worked:

That started as a men's XL t shirt (I forgot to take a before picture, but you can imagine). It had a logo on it that could not be avoided, so I cut it out and added a reverse appliqued flower!

Here's a link to the book:

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Oscar de la Renta inspired skirt

Here's an inspiration. This is from the March 2012 InStyle magazine. This is an Oscar De La Renta dress. I was planning on making a knock-off skirt. I did a skirt because I'm not sure I need a fancy lace dress.

I went to Denver Fabrics and bought a variety of lace and some muslin. I didn't want my dress in white, so I dyed it all in my washing machine with a pink Rit Dye. I wanted a light pink, but the store only had dark pink. Not surprisingly, each fabric took the dye differently.

 I cut the muslin into an A-line skirt using the Barcelona Skirt pattern.

I laid out the lace and determined where it would look best. Then I sewed the lace to the muslin. I started with the front panel, which was a bit of a mistake. By the time I got to the top layers of the skirt I determined that the lace looked best when I attached it folded (and sewed the raw edges of the lace to the muslin, leaving the folded edge exposed. So....the back does look a little better than the front.

Finished skirt! Ta-Da!