Rocking it with Remnants

We just got back from a little weekend trip to Orlando, where we romped around with friends and family members, and stayed a night in the Hard Rock Hotel. Too bad DH was sick as a dawg and I was trying to act like I didn’t have a bulky compression splint on my ankle as we were romping. Nevertheless, we had some serious FUN!

How do you describe the Hard Rock café and Hard Rock hotel experience? It’s fraught with catch-phrases mounted everywhere you glance and listen. Popular music really does rule: we remember our favorite songs when this and that happened in our lives. Every heading in the room service book had a lyrical catch-phrase attached; i.e.: On the side of a box in room that held phone book and local flyers of things to do: “Here we are now, Entertain us” –Nirvana. At the Valet Parking, written above the window: “Baby, you can drive my car.”  –The Beatles. Sounds banal now, let’s just say you had to be there.

Hard Rock Hotel mirror

Mirror says I’m the same height as Debbie Harry of Blondie

The Hard Rock link to clothing and textiles is also big. The hallway in which our room was located had a showcase with Eddie Vedder‘s leather fringed jacket. In the lobby, within a wall-mounted glass display case, were K.C. and the Sunshine Band’s yellow tennis shoes and a pair of silver glitter platform-sole boots (Elton John’s?) Of course, you want to get a t-shirt. Many of the t-shirts sold in the lobby store have lyrics across the front. I saw one shirt that looked like a couple pieces of ripped knit jersey tied together in a knot, with a song lyric screen-printed across the front. Makes me think, “I could do that!” When I was a teenager, we loved to create art by simply decoupaging a photo of an artist onto a piece of wood, then writing some lyrics below the photo, shellacking it, and attaching a hook on the back. Or painting an old box from the thrift store, and adding lyrics or sayings. I could write, or paint, or silkscreen, or machine embroider some lyrics on a shirt.

For instance, here are some memorable possibilities:

Jimi Hendrix: “S’cuse me while I kiss the sky!”
Neil Young: “Sailing heart-ships through broken harbors…”
Mountain: “There are years behind us reaching to the place where hearts are beating”
Heart: “Wonder why in dreams your feet never touch the earth?”

But then, you know, it would be like overexposure. Like when the magnificent rock epic gets played on Top 40 over and over again until it becomes a curse to you. I ended up buying a “Mischief Managed” t-shirt that reveals footprints and other things when you go out in the sun wearing it.

Marauder's Map t-shirt

Harry Potter Marauder’s Map T-shirt

Back home, I wanted to use up some remnants so I started with a skirt to go with the t-shirt. Nothing fancy. I have a simple skirt I snagged from TJ Maxx that is midi-length and stretchy, and I traced it onto 3 separate pattern pieces, representing front, back and waistband. No elastic for waistband, no zipper, snaps, buttons, nada. I used a remnant of black spandex that looks like it has gold glitter sprinkled on top, about 1 yard. I like to have a casual skirt around, long enough to not ride up, but not dragging the ground either. It was an experiment, and I was ok with the outcome.

spandex skirt

skirt to go with shirt

Next, a foray into Burdastyle, the May issue, specifically the project “Two-in-One.” A great remnant project, because it uses smallish pieces of two different fabrics, hence you may be able to find the two fabrics in the remnant bin, at half-price. I chose to use fabrics that looked like the ones they used (sorry for my lack of creativity).

black fabric remnant

black jersey knit I’ve had in the stash since 2011

end-of-bolt piece of striped sweater knit

end-of-bolt piece of striped sweater knit

The black was one yard, and it turned out to be about 2 inches shy of the cutting lines for the back piece. I forged on, wondering what the finished project would look like, 2 inches narrower than intended. Not to worry, though. It was a top/minidress, and turned out very voluminous even with the greatly abbreviated seam allowance. The neckline, however, was a no-go. I used the twill-tape version (view B) and the finished neckline looked awful on me. Luckily I found a bit of black rib-knit in the stash and added a t-shirt type collar, more like the one in View A but stretchier.

minidress

Two-in-One May Burdastyle

The magazine blurb says you can layer it with “a second piece that has a longer hem”–so I could wear it over the skirt, but ish! I don’t know about that, would seem like a Bell, Book and Candle effect. Wearing it here with a pair of pants.

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Getting Dolled Up with Remnants and Oddments

Barbies

The Barbies in the wake of the holiday weekend

This was the scene in the playroom after the holiday weekend a few weeks ago. I was informed by a girl grandkid in a loud and plaintive tone, that: “Nana, the boys were taking all the Barbies’ clothes off!” Did I mention we have 3 almost-seven-year-old grandsons? Apparently they played a big part in why the Barbies are making this look like a dollhouse of ill repute! My mom, who painstakingly made the dollhouse, would be so distraught if she knew! Anyway, something needed to be done to restore those Barbies to the heightened state of clothes horses they were intended to be.

But it wasn’t as easy as I thought. Sewing miniature clothes is no picnic, in my book. Especially when you can’t get into all those out-of-the-way storage spots where all the cool remnants are stashed.

ribbon storage

all sorts of ribbons are way up high

Unfortunately, lots of ribbons and various embellishments are stored in these boxes on a high shelf, to which I’m currently unable to climb. So I had to make do with this little assortment of notions remnants, like cord, rickrack, piping, that my grandmother might have called “oddments.” Oddments sounds like remnants. But these aren’t really cool stuff, they’re mostly leftovers that I’m too thrifty to throw out.

oddments

oddments

Barbie patterns

Barbie doll clothes patterns

I found two patterns in the stash; one I got at a yard sale a long time ago, and one that’s more recent. I looked at the old one, the Butterick Miss America Collection, and was stunned to see that it had less of the original pattern and more, much more, hand-traced patterns with a hand-lettered, very detailed sheaf of instruction sheets.

doll clothes pattern

contents of the pattern envelope

Giving myself a break, I stopped after 3 dresses. That’s because I didn’t want to search too deep for materials. Maybe, once I get more mobile. At least 3 Barbies are clothed for the moment.

Barbies

In their new dresses

Cabin Fever Remnant Project Lineup

“And on the seventh day…”

It’s the seventh day since I broke my foot, and have had to keep it elevated, and will continue until I go to the orthopedist a few more days from now.

The first couple of days I had more energy and a more hopeful outlook. Both energy and attitude have been steadily going downhill. But I don’t want to be negative. In fact, there are several bright facets to that diamond of derring-do, the clumsy trick that landed me here in cabin-feverama.

1) I have more time to read, watch TV, watch Craftsy class lessons, and delete extraneous stuff off my computer that is prompting iCloud to try and get me to buy more storage.
2) Mostly everywhere I go in the house has something nearby that can be converted to a foot-prop. Therefore, I can still serve as a tech-support person, sew, knit, Internet surf.
3) DH rented me a wheelchair so I can get around with greater ease, and crutches for the places that the wheelchair won’t go.

Since becoming bored out of my skull, I decided to do a little work on my wardrobe. This guy, #Adamsays, “I think, no matter what your age is, a pencil skirt is the most flattering skirt out there.”

I like the pencil skirt. I wanted to try out this pattern, especially since the skirt only takes 1 yard no matter what size, and see if it works with some choice remnants in the stash.

Simplicity pattern

Threads Pattern for skirt, top, pants

I chose a 1-yard piece of charcoal Ponte Roma for skirt #1, which normally sells for $12.99 per yard. Ponte Roma is a soft, luxe, drapey knit (in this case anyway). For possible tops, I have an almost 3/4 yard remnant of gray reversible knit that I think will fit the bill for this April 2015 Burdastyle Super Easy vest (normally $16.99 per yard).

April 2015 Burdastyle

BurdaStyle ridiculously easy clothes patterns

Then there’s a .83 of a yard piece of gray, aqua and peach/pink Hacci sweater knit, 57″ wide, that looks like it will make an awesome spring top. And a yard of blush-pink open-work Leno t-shirt knit for a tunic. I’ve seen lots of combinations of gray and blush-pink, and it’s savory together. Hacci knit, normal price is $12.99 per yard. Leno knit piece, normally $9.99 per yard. Of course, sold as remnants, all these cha-ching’d up at half the prices quoted herein.

Having had success with the first pencil skirt, why not another one in black? Not just ordinary black, but a glossy, Sleek Foil Denim Knit that looks a bit like shiny leather? Normally $24.99 per yard, it’s 55″ wide, so a .945 yard remnant actually provided a whole skirt. And to go with it, a top out of animal print sweater knit with a black foil collar. True, the collar piece is supposed to be cut on the bias, however, the fabric stretches in all directions, so this little neckline piece was cut from a scrap of the skirt fabric, on the straight grain. This animal print sweater-knit piece is older and I’ve lost the price tag, so we’ll just presume it is the same price as the Hacci, $12.99 per yard.

Remnant fabrics for 2 skirts, 3 tops and a vest: a little less than $40 (half of what it would be if bought off the bolt). Simplicity pattern: on sale for $1.99 (retail price $18.95). Cost of Burdastyle April issue £4.99 plus postage. Various notions: 2 zippers, thread, single-fold bias tape from stash. Estimated gasoline savings due to not being able to go anywhere because of broken foot: $15.

black pencil skirt

black pencil skirt

gray pencil skirt

charcoal Ponte Roma pencil skirt

reversible vest

reversible vest (Burda calls it a waistcoat)

Hacci sweater knit top

Hacci sweater knit top

Simplicity top

animal print sweater knit top with pleather collar

Leno weave top

Leno weave tunic top

First top was the animal print sweater knit, view C from the Simplicity pattern. Next was the Hacci sweater knit, a combination of views A and C. It has a stand-up collar and the back hem is a little longer than the front hem. I presumed for value’s sake that the two knits were similar. In the midst of sewing, they were not much alike at all. The animal print knit, although soft and light, had a much firmer texture than the Hacci. The Hacci sweater knit frayed at the ends, and while sewing the very first seam, the knit fabric bunched up under the needle and needed emergency extrication by prying up the throat plate and pushing the birds nest up through the needle hole with a screw driver blade. After that, I applied SewKeysE knit bias tape to just about every seam. Stretch needle used for all these knits. Maybe when I get a little more mobile, I can add some P.S. pictures of me wearing them…

Best (?), with Remnants

The May issue of Threads has an article that enticed and enchanted me from the cover until I put the project down and said, “There, I’m finished.” The cover proclaimed “Design the Best Skirt for Your Body.” Since my body won’t listen to me and immediately shed the extra 5 to 10 inches that is hanging around my waist like an albatross, I was interested in seeing just what skirt the author Kelly Tygert thinks my body would look good in. Page 51 is where the article begins, and it shows 4 different skirt types, each with a solid black panel that is supposed to accentuate or eliminate the model’s waistline yay’s or nay’s.

Tygert’s four waistline types, according to the article, are rectangle, inverted triangle, hourglass, or triangle. Although I could have gone with either rectangle or triangle, I chose to experiment with the latter. I had two remnants, one a solid black knit, and a black and white spandex-infused almost-yard that I would have loved to have a skirt from, but I know less than a yard is not enough to cover my bohunkus without assistance from some additional fabric.

Magazine article and remnant

Threads article and remnant

I used the skirt sloper I’d drafted from Deborah Moebes’ Craftsy Class (you can see how I made it in this post) and altered it according to the pattern in the Threads article. As is usual for me, I had problems from A to Z.

First off, the black fabric turned out to be lighter and more sheer than I thought. Therefore, when I sewed the black panels to the print fabric, it wasn’t a good match for them. I had trouble sewing the curve and making it even on both sides of the panel. I decided to cut out two of each black piece, the back waistband and the front waistband with the center panel, and make a matching facing on the inside that was an exact copy of what you see on the outside. That was looking better. For the curves where the print fabric meets the black panel down the center, I ironed on some Pellon interfacing to the inside, so that the horrible old panel didn’t look so wrinkled and awkward.

front of skirt

front, before interfacing

Anyway, it worked. And though I hand-basted the facings down on the inside, before stitching in the ditch along the seam lines on the outside, I felt the extra work was worth it because the fabric was too springy to really get ironed into place. And just a little more laboring over it with a hot iron might turn it into melted, smelly, burnt polyester.

Threads skirt

color-blocked skirt

So there we have it, supposedly the best skirt for my figure type, and definitely a bargain in that one can use less of the expensive fashion fabric to accomplish such, even making use of a half-price remnant that might otherwise have gone into the landfill. What do you think?

Life and Times, with Remnants

Life, I’ve lately realized, is fleeting.

We’ve been celebrating the life of my mother, the mortal phase of which ended two weeks ago.

 

Mom

Me and Mom 2014

Mom

Mom (1929)

 

I’m seeing some similarities in more than just the hair styles in these photos!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With lots of family things going on, and getting back into the flow of daily events again, I haven’t finished many sewing projects, except for this one, a shopper I started last year.

Shopping bag

Kwik Sew Shopping bag with steam punk embroidery motif

The embroidery motif is from a collection of steampunk Christmas designs at Urban Threads. Notice how the bag makes exemplary use of small pieces of remnant fabric? I hope to make more of these lovelies, but I can’t guarantee that I will have time now, the holidays being almost here!  Distractions abound!

Time, that fleeting thing that life is made out of, has been taken up with associations, both usual and unusual. Relationships have been both renewed and undone. Motives have been questioned. Long-standing resentments have been acknowledged and tolerated. Prayers have been issued. Cold hands have been held, then relinquished and folded together in repose.

Do I feel bereft? No. I believe the dead are still with us partly, in spirit. I am one of those who believes that the Spirit World is the Earth’s spirit. Just like our spirit is attached to our physical body, so is the Spirit World attached to the Earth’s body. I believe in eternal life and in the Resurrection, when spirit and physique will be reunited. I don’t feel swimming in denial, but full of hope and faith that God is in charge of this whole scenario, and that His plan will prevail. It’s going to be good, all good.

Surprisingly, my recent post about a video-game themed wedding has been scrutinized. Some folks have been wondering just what I may have been alluding to in the post, asking to whom I was referring, because of course, I surely could not have attributed abusive behavior to them!

“If the shoe fits, wear it.”  Put it on, fasten it up, take a practice step in it, see how it feels, and wear it. Abuse is abuse, whether it is physical, mental, emotional, or whatever.  How exhilarating to wake up to the prospect of living life without fear, without the dull ache of having been put in your place, a place of inferiority and submission to another person who is supposed to “love” you. Exhilarating to reclaim one’s self-esteem, which has been systematically beaten back time after time after time.  Hmmm, there may be some sense in living through miserable times, if you can learn to appreciate the good times.

Meanwhile, DH is closer to completing his table.  Lots of months of hard work!

walnut table

DH’s natural-edge walnut table

ebony plugs

Breadboard edge of table with ebony accents

Long, Long Summer with Remnant Skirtini

It may be Labor Day weekend, but summer’s not over! Not for Central Florida anyway, it will continue to be hot and muggy here until mid-October.

Continuing in the vein of the last Jalie Tankini post, I followed through on my intention of creating that adorable skirtini.

skirting

Jalie Skirtini

Pattern 3023 has to be one of the cutest swim suits ever. It has a camisole top with a built-in shelf bra, optional drawstrings in casings on the sides that can have beads threaded on them, or can be tied in a bow. The bottom has a wide waistband and can be made with a flirty little skirt, if wanted.

I’m happy to report that I didn’t have nearly as much trouble with this version as I did with my first try! I did make use of the excellent Getmystitchon blog tutorial once again to do the straps. Piece of cake! The worst problem I had was discovering that I accidentally cut one of the waistband facings out of fabric that had a big notch already slashed into it. Mulligan waistband facing!

unwanted notch

Ooops

The recipient of this project picked out the two contrasting colors from my spandex-remnant box. What a beautiful match of colors! These photos don’t do justice to the metallic gold splashes all over the fabric of the camisole and skirt. Really gorgeous! And…as you know, half-price at JoAnn’s because they were remnants! Fabrics like this are usually about $15 per yard. This suit, for a twelve-year old, took less than a yard. It did, however, take a lot of thread to make this. Compared to a basic leotard, this skirtini had a bunch of stitching. Layer upon layer.

skirtini

side view

Attack of the Mad Tankini

Now that our Family Beach Weekend is OVER, I FINALLY finished the swim suit I was attempting to make for a family member! She picked out the color and pattern of fabric, and I chose one of two awesome Jalie tankini patterns that I splashed out for! Yes, Jalie patterns are expensive considering that I usually buy Simplicity, McCalls, or Butterick when they’re on sale for $1 or $2 a piece, but when you realize that one Jalie pattern has just about every size you’d ever want to make, and the styles are très cool, I will, of course, pay more!

Jalie tankini pattern

Tankini pattern

Jalie patterns are either downloadable, or shipped from the company in Canada. They may also be in retail shops, but they aren’t in any shops around where I live. My next project will be the beautiful and modest skirtini that you see included in this pattern.

tankini

finished tankini

I must admit, this finished project is one of the worst things I’ve ever sewn. Do you ever have sewing days when you sew the back to the back lining instead of the front? And then, when ripping out the seams, gouge holes in the fabric? And when you decide to use the cover stitch on your serger, which you haven’t used in a long time because you’re flat scared of the thing, your thread breaks? And then when you try to do it over, another thread breaks? And then when you’re trimming the seam allowance, you cut a hole in the hem, not the underside, but the side that shows to all the world what a klutz you are? And you run out of bobbin thread, so you wind a new bobbin, and the thread wraps all around the post instead of inside the spool? And when you try to get it off, it gets all tangled and you have to throw it in the trash? And then you run out of thread and don’t have any more of that color so you have to finish the garment with a different color thread? Yeah, that kind of stuff.

I could never have finished this project without the able assistance of Meigan at getmystitchon.blogspot.com . Usually I have no problem following the instructions in a Jalie pattern, but the straps on this one had me completely flummoxed. Meigan, thank you for posting this excellent tutorial; I followed it and survived just fine! After following your instructions, the straps were the least of my worries!

The sides have optional drawstrings in casings that can be drawn up to look like ruching. Normally, if I ever have to make tiny fabric tubes and turn them inside out, I’m a basket case and require therapy for an extended period of time. This pattern has a genius method of turning a tiny narrow tube! You can even add plastic beads to the drawstrings, or just knot the ends and tie them in a bow. I think they add a lot to the overall cuteness of the swim suit.

Jalie tankini

the fabric looks tie-dyed

So there it is! Not the most perfect job, as you would be able to tell if you saw it up close, but now that I’ve finished one, I’ll work on another one and maybe it will be more finessed than the first! This project is ideal for using remnants of spandex-infused fabric. The straps and waistband can be in a contrasting color, thus using small pieces of end-of-bolt and remnant fabrics that otherwise might get thrown away, and are sold at JoAnn Fabric for half-price!

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