Friday, 6 June 2014

To The Maxi!

Hi, all!
We've sadly been awfully neglectful of this poor blog, but that's what happens when life gets in the way of everything else!

Due to a number of family medical issues -- and that aforementioned *life* in general -- I haven't had much time to craft lately at all. That doesn't stop my Pinterest boards from growing by leaps and bounds, though!

Today I thought I'd tackle an easy refashion that I'd been thinking about for a while -- a maxi skirt! I had this sundress I'd picked up at the thrift store hanging in my closet for ages.

Sundress! 
I didn't take pictures throughout the entire process, but all it involved was chopping off the shirred portion at the top, then folding over and pressing first 1/4" then 1.5" to create a casing for elastic. I stitched close to the folded edge, leaving a gap of a few inches through which to insert elastic. I measured a piece by wrapping it around my waist and marking the length with a Sharpie.

After that, I inserted the elastic and safety-pinned the ends together so I could try it on again. Thankfully, this was a smart idea. I needed to tighten the elastic more in order for the skirt to feel properly snug at the waist. Once I made this adjustment, I stitched the overlapped elastic twice with a zigzag stitch, then closed the gap on the waist.

And... ta-da!

I know, it doesn't look very different, but it is. Unfortunately, because I'm tall, the skirt doesn't quite go down as long as I would have liked -- even though I cut it as close to the shirring part as I could. It's okay. It's still light and flowy and extremely comfortable. So it's all good! And besides, I have a couple of other thrifted sundresses that are just begging to be made into maxis, too... :)

In other crafting, I also put together some bracelets a while ago, following this tutorial. Very cute, and very easy.


Anyway, that's it for now. My list of projects is huge, and now that life looks a little more normal *knocks on wood*, I hope to get on top of them. Watch this space for new posts (hopefully) soon!

Monday, 18 November 2013

Christmas is Coming!

It's undeniable -- we're moving into the latter half of November; the Santa Claus parade has come and gone; people have started putting up their Christmas lights. I think it's fair to say that the holiday season is definitely approaching at a rapid pace!

Anyway. I haven't done a lot of Christmas crafting yet this year, but I did happen across the most adorable snowman upcycle craft the other day on Pinterest and thought I'd give it a shot. (Check the tutorial link for other instructions.)

Isn't it adorable?
This craft took me less than an hour to do, and that was with frequent interruptions from my Little Miss.

So you need:
  • an old sock, preferably crew length or longer
  • elastic bands
  • rice
  • buttons
  • beads, ric-rac, fabric scraps, anything else you want to use to decorate with
  • needle and thread, or hot-glue gun
The first thing you do is cut your sock off at the heel. Then turn the calf part inside out and put an elastic band near the cut edge (this is the bottom of your snowman). Turn it right-side out again.

Now you have two choices: you can embellish the belly with a needle and thread before you stuff the sock, or you can wait until you've filled it and then use hot glue. I chose the needle and thread route. The only thing I didn't like was the fact that the buttons ended up not quite in the right spot for what I wanted, which is something that could have been done more accurately with the hot-glue gun.

Anyway. Then fill your guy with rice, pushing it in firmly to widen the base. Add two elastic bands: one for the belly and one to form the head.

At this point, I also embellished the head. I used seed beads and stitched them on. If I were to do it again, I'd used slightly larger beads. I think seed beads are too small, proportionally, but they're what I had on-hand.

At this point, make a hat using the toe and part of the foot of the sock. Then embellish further with a strip of fabric (or whatever you have on hand) for a scarf to hide your elastic. I also put a little matching embellishment on the hat for fun.

And there you go! A cute little snowman to add to your decor. Easy and quick enough to make an entire family, if you wish.





Happy crafting!

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Bleached Beauty!

Hey folks!
One of the current trends I've been seeing all over (and really liking) is the DIY bleach-design T-shirt. I pinned a bunch of tutorials on Pinterest, and, after seeing a regular silkscreened tee with an image I really liked, I thought now was the time to give it a shot.

So the first thing I did was come up with a similar image to the one I'd seen to use as a stencil. Then I traced it onto freezer paper and cut it out. Then I ironed the stencil onto my shirt.

Spray-ready!















Then came the most exciting part. I stuffed the shirt with a plastic bag to keep the bleach from leaking through onto the back, and I lay down a bunch of newspaper to protect the floor. (I did do this in my laundry room, on the concrete floor.) I also put on a rubber glove to protect my hand. My bleach solution was 50/50 bleach and water.

After *one* spray. You can see the change already!















I didn't count the number of spritzes I used; I just gauged the color change as I went along.

After multiple sprays; maybe 5 or 6.















At this point, I pulled the stencil off. It came off fairly easily, which was good, because I had my rubber glove on and it was difficult to grasp the edges. But it did come off.

Spraying complete!















At this point, I put it in the sink in cold water, to rinse out the excess bleach. After this, I put it in the washer and dryer. I've seen other tutorials where the instructions indicate to just toss the item in with your regular laundry, but I was concerned about the possibility of any remaining bleach making its way into the rest of the load, so I just ran a small load of a few things that wouldn't be hurt if they got a little bleach on them.

The finished product!



















I have to say, this turned out GREAT! I am so happy with the results! My only final thought is I'm debating whether or not to add long sleeves to the tee so I can wear it more up here in Northern Canada!

I'm going to make a bunch of Christmas gifts now that I know how easy and unique this craft is. I know other colours will turn out differently, but I also know that darker-coloured tees will give you a more dramatic result.

My takeaways:
  • The hardest part of this craft is designing and cutting out your stencil. Feel free to get as detailed as you want, just be careful that you iron the freezer paper on thoroughly, particularly around edges.
  • Go easy on the bleach. Do a couple of sprays and watch the reaction, rather than dousing the shirt to begin with. It's always easier to add more than take it away!
  • Use 50/50 water-bleach solution. Use rubber gloves. Protect your work surfaces and surrounding area. Ventilation is good.
  • I recommend rinsing the shirt right away, and laundering it as soon as you can to keep the bleach from sitting on the fabric. You want a cool design; you don't want holes in your shirt!
Good luck, and happy crafting!

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Back In The Saddle!

Hello, all!
Apologies for the terribly long hiatus, but hopefully this post means we're back in the saddle -- craftily speaking, of course!

My first project back at the sewing machine came from some lovely flannel snowflake fabric I'd purchased as well as this pattern:

New Look #6170
Interestingly enough -- as with other sewing projects based on patterns -- the part that took the most time was the pinning and cutting. On top of that, in order to save the other sizes in the pattern, I made a copy of the pattern by tracing it onto tissue paper. Frankly, that took a heck of a long time. But I'll be glad of it in future, I think!

Anyway. The pattern was relatively easy to sew, with two exceptions: first, the top makes use of bias tape around the collar to finish it, which was a little challenging for me (but doable!), and second, the instructions were lacking in that there were no details on attaching the sleeves to the body of the top. No problem, I have just enough sewing experience to know how to do the work!

By the way, no, I did not go searching online for errata for this pattern. I didn't bother. But there may be something out there.

Bottom line, here's the finished result!

I think they turned out awfully cute! I'm going to use a similar pattern to make a matching pair for my older daughter -- I bought plenty of that material when it was on sale!

So...I don't know what my next project will be, but rest assured I'll blog about it when the time comes! :)

Cheers, and keep on craftin'!

Sunday, 28 July 2013

A (Belated) Birthday Gift!

Quite a while ago I found some wonderful fabric on Spoonflower that consisted of stick figures doing gymnastics. Immediately I wanted to use this fabric to make something for my dear stepdaughter, our family gymnast. Well, time passed and the fabric sat, washed and ironed but unused. As my stepdaughter's birthday approached, I decided it was time to finally whip something up. So here's the result!


Because I only had two fat quarters' worth (a bit of a long story there!) I decided the easiest thing to do would be to make a tote bag and a little matching zipper pouch. I used this very easy tutorial to assemble the tote bag, and this tutorial for the zipper pouch. I had a cute blue polka-dotted fabric that I used as the liner (you can't see it here). Because the gymnastics fabric is a normal cotton, I also tweaked the tutorial for the tote by putting iron-on interfacing on the back of that fabric to stiffen the tote up a little bit. I wanted it to be a bit stronger to both hold its shape and be able to carry slightly heavier things, if necessary.

She seemed rather pleased with the result, and as she's heading off to University this fall (wow!), I hope she'll find both items useful.

If you've never made these types of items before, I highly recommend giving them a try. It only took a couple of hours to put both things together. They make wonderful gifts, and you can find themed fabric in just about any print you could possibly want, if you just spend some time searching the Internet. That way, you can customize a gift to each individual recipient. A win all around, if you ask me!

Back again hopefully soon with more blog entries! Hope you're enjoying your summer!

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Pillowcase Dresses...Yet Again!

I stumbled on a pair of absolutely gorgeous embroidered pillowcases at my local Value Village thrift store and I had to snap them up right away. I knew I wanted to make matching garments for my two girls, but I kept putting it off. I wanted to try a new technique for the neckline than my normal method.

I didn't take any photos during the assembly. I mainly used this site for the style, but I referred to this site because she's got a great list of measurements to use.

So here are the completed items -- my younger monkey got a full dress out of it, but my elder kidlet ended up with a top (the pillowcases weren't long enough to make her a dress).





And here's a photo or two of the girls wearing their new outfits. They sang two little duets at our local Bible camp, and everyone there thought they were just adorable! (Well, I think they are, too, but I'm just a tad biased!)



Two little songbirds!

 One more project to check off the list! I'll be back soon with more...!

Friday, 14 June 2013

Refashionista!

Well, okay, no. I'm far from an expert, yet. But I DID finally bite the bullet and jump in to the refashioning pool! I had two tutorials (this one, and this one) pinned to one of my Pinterest boards (don't you LOVE Pinterest??) for a Polo-shirt makeover, and the idea has intrigued me for a while. So when I was last in Ye Auld Thrift Shop, I took a skim of the racks to see if I could find something that appealed.

 So this is the one that jumped off the rack at me. Not bad looking, huh? It's a men's XL.











So the first thing I did was cut off the collar and give the neck more of a scoop in the back.


Then I tried the shirt on and pinned the sides to take them in. You can just barely see the pins. I tried to make them approximately even in terms of the amount of fabric being taken in on either side. I had to do this twice. The first time I pinned too far in. After I moved the pins out about an inch or so, the shirt felt much more comfortable. I also marked approximately where I wanted the hem to be, because the shirt was too long, and I cut off about four inches, or so.


Then I stitched along the line of pins, and tried the shirt on again to make sure I liked the fit. Once I was satisfied with that, I trimmed away the excess material. I didn't bother running a zigzag stitch along the edges, simply because knit fabric doesn't fray so that extra step is completely optional.


Just for a little bit of added detail, I sewed about five inches of elastic along the lower side seams, gently stretching it as I went. This put some soft gathers in the sides -- just a bit of a feminine touch! This photo shows the inside of the shirt. The following photo shows how it looks on the outside.


I didn't bother hemming the bottom of the shirt because I liked the so-called "deconstructed" look of it. Along the neck edge, though, I folded the fabric in approximately 1/4" and stitched it down. That's it!

And now, the final product. The front:


The back:

I chose not to pick off the pocket, as I was worried about any potential holes left in the shirt. I didn't know what I'd do to patch them, if I needed to. So I just left it.

The verdict? I like it. It's quite comfortable, and in theory I could wear it right-way forward, if I wanted. I've caught people looking at me curiously, though. Seems people start wondering when someone appears to have her shirt on backwards...