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.

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

A Frozen Remnant Project

Sometimes the desire to be thrifty can take too great a priority in your life-script.

By that, I mean that thriftiness can rule your life to the point that you feel saving the maximum amount of money is your highest priority. Therefore, you are stymied when trying to make a decision, because you feel that, “What if I make this choice, then something else comes along that will save me even more money?” So you put it off, until you feel the coup de grace of remnant projects comes along. But it doesn’t, so there you are, losing creativity in the meantime.

Sometimes that happens to me. But also, I have vague ideas for projects, I just need to ruminate about them for a little while until I’m sure I can pull them off. And I’ve also done projects where I rush into them, and they never quite rise to the level of greatness I first envisioned. So they either look bad, or they’re relegated to the UFO colony until I summon up enough enthusiasm to take them on again until completion.

This project sat in a pile of fabric until I had an urge to do spring cleaning in the sewing room. It consisted of a great little fabric remnant named CP51876 Sisters Framed Toss, copyright Disney for Springs Creative Products Group LLC that I snagged from the remnant bin at JoAnn Fabric. It could have been a great winter project, as it is a warm minky fabric. It could have been a Valentine’s Day project because it is pink and has hearts. But I missed the mark on both: now it’s spring, and though we don’t need warm blankets in Florida, I noticed last time one of my granddaughters came to stay overnight, she had a little blankie similar to this one, so I pressed forward. No little girl would reject a Frozen blanket, I thought, even if it could just be for playtime purposes and not a real bed linen.

All materials were in the fabric stash already, so I didn’t have to go out and buy anything.

blanket

sewing the blanket binding on

Yes, you know me, the project wasn’t completely trouble-free. I used as a backing, a remnant of white Ultra Cuddle (currently $10.99 per yard on Joann’s web site). The Anna and Elsa Frozen remnant was 1.79 yards, currently on sale at the web site for $11.99 per yard. Usually Joann’s remnants are a yard or less, but they will allow larger pieces for home-dec and fleece fabrics. Sold as remnants, these pieces of material go for 1/2 the regular price. The satin blanket binding has been in the stash for a long time. If you look very closely at the picture, you might notice that part of the binding is a wee bit lighter in color. I didn’t have enough of the pink to go all the way around the blanket, so I added what was left of a package of very light pinkish-white satin blanket binding that had been part of my grandmother’s stash. Yep, I do stuff like that.

Frozen blanket

Frozen blanket, made from remnants

One other annoying problem that came up, was the lack of cohesion between the three very different fabrics while trying to sew them together. The Frozen print is minky, a sort of ultrasuede one-way stretch knit, and the Ultra Cuddle is a plushy, stretchy-in-all-directions knit, and the blanket binding has a satiny appearance, but is a rigid, woven polyester. So I laid out the Ultra Cuddle on the dining room table, and put the Frozen fabric on top, and cut out all around it so the front and back would be the same size. But when I started sewing, the Cuddle stretched more, so that it was looking like I’d end up with a couple more inches of backing than front. I remedied that by using a roller presser foot. I held the back of the strip of binding, with the two fabrics sandwiched in the center of the folded strip, in one hand and the front of the strip in the other hand, and sort of fed that strip under the needle, then stretched out the next length to be attached in the same way.

sewing machine roller presser foot

roller presser foot

You could probably use a quilting foot or a walking foot as well. Now, if I wasn’t the thrifty person that I am, I would have waited and gotten another package of pink satin blanket binding so it would all match perfectly, and then it would look as good as a store-bought blanket. But the contrast between the two slightly different colors of blanket binding isn’t extreme.

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Hue of You

quilting fabric stash

quilting fabric stash

For this weekly photo challenge

we want to keep it simple: share a photograph with a prominent color (or assortment of colors) that reveals more about you. It could be a symbolic, meaningful shade; a color that expresses how you currently feel; or a combination of colors that excites you and tells a visual story.

Nothing says much more about me than my fabric stash: the hues and patterns that call out to me. It’s a little disorganized, the boundaries between the colors are a little jagged, some important items are hidden behind others. It’s a collection of possibilities and permutations.

People ask me my favorite color; I say green. But most of the clothes I like to buy are blue. And yellow looks terrible on me, but I have yellow-gold dishes and I loved my yellow-painted kitchen and dining room. It would appear that the hues of me are not all that simple…

Organizing the fibers and crafts for 2012

As the old year passes away this evening, I want to say good-bye to it in a friendly way. Because I’ve been doing creative projects in 2011 and blogging about them, it’s been a fun-filled year! And after today, I will not ever tag a blog post “postaweek2011” again, woot! I’ve seen that WordPress is pointing us toward another bloggimmick, posting about the same thing 365 times this next year, but I don’t think I will jump on that one.

Toward the end of the year, I got a bit slow and didn’t get in a post a week. Last week I did some adjusting to my creative work space and I’m happy with it. In fact, I’m almost afraid to get started, because it took me so long to straighten it up. The biggest changes were prompted by my looking at a copy of Studios magazine, an Interweave publication. I never thought I would be nuts enough to shell out money for a magazine about studios, but I found it quite a bit more interesting than many of the other magazines I mindlessly buy with a foolish trust that I will get my money’s worth.

I decided to take down a couple of shelves’ worth of books that I’ve been keeping in the room, which don’t have a thing to do with sewing or art, and replace them with fabric stacks. I chose only cottons or others suitable for quilting to go on the shelves. This is going to inspire me, hopefully.

fabric stacks

Knits and non-quilting fabrics are in the drawers, so now the drawers are full again, but at least I don’t have an overspill of fabric everywhere!

An example of the hoardity, before reorganization


My DH volunteered to make me some utilitarian shelves, to help organize, and did it ever! I now have a clue as to what I have, and where it might be located!

stuff stashed

Note the coat rack from Lowes, installed on the wall under the bulletin board, which keeps the hoops from jangling around and falling into the lost zone in back of the sewing machines. I also installed a little display frame that was my mom’s, which houses a thimble collection. I relocated my extra sewing machine feet to a clear plastic, lidded box that sits on the sewing desk and hides a large, unsightly, awful burn on its formica surface. Yarn is boxed on the shelves by fiber type and color. I got a new thread caddy and a bobbin thread case, both 40% off at Joann’s, so all my thread is now encased and categorized. Art supplies are stashed. Felted sweaters and blank t-shirts, tubbed. Pillow forms and batting, bagged and boxed. I considered putting a few more pics in, showing the shelves at the top of the room, but you get the idea. And my studio doesn’t exactly look like Hollywood. The feng shui is not perfect; it feels more in tune for Internet surfing and blogging than sewing and creating, at the moment. But I feel more ready to get started in 2012, hoping to do more of what I want to do: art quilting, making cool kids’ clothes, sketching, multi-media things.

Here’s to a bold new year coming, and as for the old one, it was pretty good overall!

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