Fashion and you

National Sewing Month. 😎

Designer….sewing….clothes…music

As I post this, I’m watching Fashion Rocks on CBS, a new concept: watch famous recording artists perform on TV and go to Macy’s web site and order the outfits you see the performers parading around wearing.

Money…glitz….moving….looks

Leather….lights…screaming!…fashion

some of it is absolutely embare-rassing

You and I can be a player in our own little microcosm…that lil ol’ fashion designer, sewist, shower-chanteuse, and rescuer of fabric from the landfill…here I am/we are!

Here’s my latest sewn thing–part of a triple piece swim set;

jalie tankini top

Jalie tankini top

Featuring a little remnant of silver stretch spandex.

I should also mention that using a special “stretch” needle is the way to go when sewing lycra-spandex. I’ve had better results than when using a “ball-point” needle.

Jalie tankini pattern

the Jalie Pattern for the top

Here’s a pic of my fashion-forward great grandparents in their tankini’s.

great-grandparents

Great-grandparents

What have you saved from the landfill lately?

Metal Remnants

I recently got invited to a Jewelry Party.

Catalog for the Jewelry Party

Catalog for the Jewelry Party

I love jewelry, but I’ve never been much of a jewelry wearer. My slim list of preferred jewelry includes yellow gold, a wedding band set, earrings from cherished children, leather, and orange and blue beaded or enameled items I wear during football season. And yet, when I went through my stuff lately, I found that I have a ton of jewelry, and I like most of it, I remember when I got it, I have fond feelings for it, but I still don’t wear it. And some of it is broken.

Lately, I’ve wanted to create jewelry. I’ve got a few friends whose desire to make jewelry has really bloomed since I’ve known them. So I’m taking a leaf from their books of accomplishment and doing a little bit of jewelry.

Items on these pages of catalog are from $18 - $54 each

Items on these pages of catalog are from $18 (earrings) – $54 (necklace) each

You can buy all sorts of jewelry findings at JoAnn’s, Michael’s, and local bead shops like our nearby Gifts of Avalon, and they’re reasonably priced.
These are from Avalon Beads at $2 a packet

These are from Avalon Beads at $2 a packet

I found all the stuff to make these at JoAnn's for about $15

I found all the stuff to make these at JoAnn’s for about $15

As a Remnant Redo, I decided to fix some of my broken jewelry. It wasn’t hard to do. You just need a few basic tools.

crimp tool, round nose pliers, wire cutters

crimp tool, round nose pliers, wire cutters

Tons of how-to videos abound on You-Tube in which even the most simpering of young girly-girls know more about making jewelry than I do. Watch some of them and your brow will no longer furrow when you hear or read the word “crimp.”

I fixed these by adding cheap and easy clasps

I fixed these by adding cheap and easy clasps

a new barrel clasp made this Crow necklace wearable again

a new barrel clasp made this Crow necklace wearable again

Added a little jump-ring, and I can wear this watch my son gave me again

Added a little jump-ring, and I can wear this watch my son gave me again

just a little clasp was all it needed

just a little clasp was all it needed

metal remnants

metal remnants

Hmmm, wonder what could be done with this junk, er, these possible jewelry findings?

Extravagant Claims of the Wrap Dress

The remnant is an April Johnston Project Runway fabric, Roses.

fabric swatch

I planned to buy enough to make “The Perfect Knit Dress,” McCall’s Palmer/Pletsch M5974, view A or B (without the tie-wrap) which would have been 2 1/8 to 2 1/2 yards. But when I got to the cutting counter, the bolt had just 2/3 yard more than what I wanted, so the cute little sales guy said if I wanted it, I could have it at the “end of bolt” discount price. I smiled to the core and said, “OK.” With that extra yardage, I decided to try view C, with the tie-wrap.

M5974 The Perfect Knit Dress

You can see the views better here on the McCall’s Palmer/Pletsch site.

I’d been reading snippets all over the net about how great wrap dresses are. They are “forgiving,” and “camouflaging.” The wrap dress is, according to the Glam Gals of Fabulous After Forty, one of the best dresses for women over 40. You can wear it and look sexy, not sleazy!

In the pattern instructions, Pati Palmer discusses first thing that knit fabric normally reveals all the bumps and bulges, but that the wrap dress is different. I want to believe you Pati, so I will give it a try. I’ll give my spare tire a wrap and (hopefully) forget about it. There’s nothing worse than wearing clothes that you have to tug on and adjust all the time.

The sewing went well, with a size 75 stretch needle set at a 2.5 zigzag, and polyester thread. Some of the details required hand-basting and slip-stitching, which I don’t mind. I haven’t hemmed it yet because I couldn’t get the serger threaded for coverstitch, but I will get to that.

wrap dress

The Day I Became a Woodturner

Oh, it was a happy day!

My instructor is Skip Ingley, also known as my DH, AKA University of Florida College of Engineering 2011-2012 Teacher of the Year (I mention this so that through my filial bias I do not appear to be the only one who believes he is an awesome teacher). Leading up to this hands-on adventure, we watched LOTS of DVD’s featuring great woodworkers like Jimmy Clewes, Alan Lacer, Paul Sellers, and other masters who make it look so easy and fun!

We began with terminology: I must learn to identify the names of the tools and parts of the machines and their functions.

The Jet Lathe, DH’s Father’s Day present

The tailstock

The headstock

The Banjo and Tool Rest

Now, I am going to get one of these wood remnants, which are pieces of what used to be a 2×4.

Poplar or birch wood remnants

Next, I attach it to the spindle by pricking a little hole in the center of both ends of the block with an awl so the drive center mechanism can grab it and turn it.

This is another block he’d been working on, shown “speared” by the tailstock revolving center for a tight hold

The headstock drive center has a little tooth on it to attach the other end of the block.

To make this square peg a round one, I will use the Roughing Gouge.

roughing gouge

skew

I liked using the skew chisel most of all. I learned to use it for planing cuts and peeling cuts.

planing with a skew chisel

peeling cut in between two parting cuts

In planing, I am moving the skew down an area of the block, evening out the rounded surface. In peeling, I am digging into the block to cut out a portion of the wood. Cool as heck! The smell of wood is invigorating. The hum of the spinning spindle is an agreeable one. I can see why the wood shop can be an enchanting place to hang out. Before I became a woodturner, it just seemed like a large, disorderly storage area.

Now I try out the parting tool. It makes a straight (if you don’t tilt it) deep (if you dig in far enough) cut, the width of your blade. You can make two parting cuts and then peel or plane between the two.

parting tool

Or you can make a parting cut with the intent of severing one part of the piece from the rest of it.

contentedly rough-gouging

I will probably practice on that pile of 2×4 remnants before I take on a real project. We have discussed a honey dipper (definition #1, lol), a spirtle, a candlestick, or a little vase for dried flowers (weed pot) as a possible first project. Which of these, or another project, would you choose?

Woolly Fabric Redo

The focus for this week (actually last week, I’m posting a week behind) is a repurposed fabric rather than a fabric remnant. I have Kay to thank for the idea: she visited my scary sewing room this past weekend and witnessed, first-hand, the hoarding-in-progress that happens in this little den. But she made a comment that stuck in my mind long after Homecoming Weekend was over and she went back down south; she said “Pillows made from old felted sweaters are really popular right now.”

Do I have felted sweaters? Yes, I have a whole bin of them. I opened the sweater equivalent to Davy Jones’ locker and assessed the possibilities.

first, the RED one

The beautiful red sweater had been cannibalized before, about the sleeve area, to make felted roses; all that was left was a vest. I cut it just under the underarms, straight across, and seamed the felted edges, using the sewing machine. As luck would have it, my zipper stash offered up a perfect specimen, right size and color, and the zipper pull had the letters “AG” in a burnished, antiqued metal. I don’t know! After stuffing with a size 18″ x 18″ pillow form (on sale at JoAnn’s), I realized that the sides formed an unattractive bell shape, so I sewed another seam that looked straighter. Then, seeing a plain but sumptuous woolen pillow, I felt prompted to add some needle felting, using wool roving I had left over from another project.

felting tools

The felting table looks like a square-ish scrub brush. You put the woolen fabric over the brush, then drape strips of wool roving in the pattern you want, and punch the roving into the sweater fabric with the felting tool, which looks like a pen with 3 long needles sticking out.

cutting the pillow shape out of the sweater

Next, I found a felted turquoise sweater with a single chain down the center in the stash. Since the chain looked so elegant, I saw no need to embellish any more with roving on this pillow. And I was not as lucky with the zipper; the only one I had that even looked similar was a 10-inch Talon that I’ve had for so long, it says 35 cents on the package. It also says “turquoise” but it looks like robin’s egg blue to me.

ancient zipper

The reason I don’t get stressed-out over zippers as much as I used to, is this narrow zipper foot I bought for my machine: oh, please consider getting one for your ultimate peace of mind! I love this foot.

the good narrow zipper foot


So, as a result, I have a couple of new woolly pillows for winter TV watching and vegetating on the couch. Thanks, Kay, for the great idea!

Snuggle time

Remnants for Appliques

It sounds so obvious, but one sure way to use up remnants is to make them into appliques.
You know it’s true. But it’s so easy.

Here we have the remains of a white cotton remnant that I used to make a collar for a summer dress in a previous post.
This design is from Planet Applique –it’s reminiscent of a tuxedo. I put it on a black toddler t-shirt and personalized it with the toddler’s name. Why the name? A new year of day care is about to start and the teachers do appreciate that the toddlers’ clothes identify a boy who looks, to them, exactly like his brother.
This design, of course, was done in the hoop of an embroidery sewing machine. You could do it on a regular sewing machine by cutting the remnant the size and shape you want, then attaching it to the t-shirt using a column-stitch or an applique stitch. If you have one of the older machines, it can be a zigzag stitch that is very close together. When I had an old Kenmore back in the 80’s, I did lots of appliques with the close-together zigzag stitch.
You can use the smallest of pieces of leftover fabric for appliques. Here’s another example:

You can buy toddler t-shirts at some JoAnn stores and most of the time they’re $3 or less. I found some on a clearance rack for $0.97. Target has toddler t-shirts in packages, and so does K-mart, although I’m not sure if K-mart will be around.
The tuxedo t-shirts did not fit well in the hoop so I had to cut the side seams and then re-sew them after the embroidery step, better than dealing with the craziness of overlapping and accidental stitching where you didn’t want the stitching to be! Also, if you do lots of applique-ing, you may want to invest in a pair of applique scissors, or at the very least, a pair of those very tiny embroidery scissors. If you applique in the hoop, as I did here, you cut the appliqued fabric off at the edge of the embroidery stitching and without a good set of scissors, you can really wreak havoc! Postaweek 2011!

Remnants for Appliques

It sounds so obvious, but one sure way to use up remnants is to make them into appliques.
You know it’s true. But it’s so easy.

Here we have the remains of a white cotton remnant that I used to make a collar for a summer dress in a previous post.

stitching the remnant applique


This design is from Planet Applique –it’s reminiscent of a tuxedo. I put it on a black toddler t-shirt and personalized it with the toddler’s name. Why the name? A new year of day care is about to start and the teachers do appreciate that the toddlers’ clothes identify a boy who looks, to them, exactly like his brother.

finished applique

This design, of course, was done in the hoop of an embroidery sewing machine. You could do it on a regular sewing machine by cutting the remnant the size and shape you want, then attaching it to the t-shirt using a column-stitch or an applique stitch. If you have one of the older machines, it can be a zigzag stitch that is very close together. When I had an old Kenmore back in the 80’s, I did lots of appliques with the close-together zigzag stitch.
You can use the smallest of pieces of leftover fabric for appliques. Here’s another example:

appliqued t-shirts


You can buy toddler t-shirts at some JoAnn stores and most of the time they’re $3 or less. I found some on a clearance rack for $0.97. Target has toddler t-shirts in packages, and so does K-mart, although I’m not sure if K-mart will be around.
The tuxedo t-shirts did not fit well in the hoop so I had to cut the side seams and then re-sew them after the embroidery step, better than dealing with the craziness of overlapping and accidental stitching where you didn’t want the stitching to be! Also, if you do lots of applique-ing, you may want to invest in a pair of applique scissors, or at the very least, a pair of those very tiny embroidery scissors. If you applique in the hoop, as I did here, you cut the appliqued fabric off at the edge of the embroidery stitching and without a good set of scissors, you can really wreak havoc! Postaweek 2011!

Remnant Kitty Pouffe

This week’s project is for the cats. So, I’m sitting on the loveseat trying to knit through an episode of some show where murderers get tracked down, and a 25-pound cat crawls up in my lap, on top of whatever I was working on.

Prrrrrr

I found a cat bed pattern in One Yard Wonders by Rebecca Yaker and Patricia Haskins. The remnant is an old Victorian-tapestry-looking piece of fabric with mauve and purple and white and blue and black flowers. DH thinks it is a bit girly since two of the cats are male. But I think it is just right: the Victorians were always trying to put flowers and frills on something that was pure savage.

giving the remnant a test-drive

I threw the remnant down on the floor to let them get used to it. They liked it enough for some to even attack the others who tried to horn in on it.
Now, I realize that having 4 cats puts us way up there on the weird-i-osity scale. When you live with that many cats, it’s weird every day.
Step 1: cut out pieces per the pattern. Step 2: (not included in pattern, I added it) Embroider names of cats on inner side pieces of cat bed.

Pauley

Stella

Bob

Grayzie

Not the most elaborate embroidery but (whispering) they’re cats! They can’t read anyway!
Step 3: Seam together the various pieces as instructed, leaving an opening in the bottom for stuffing. I found a very old bag of fiberfill scraps and a bag of quilt batting that was just the narrow strips leftover from a project. Perfect. Step 4: Stuff.

stuffing

Then I sewed up the stuffing slit and it was done. Fast, easy, and used up just under a yard of fabric stash!

Pet Pouffe

Grayzie giving it a trial knead

Swim Suit Remnant project

This week’s remnant was 5/8 yard of dark blue 2-way stretch fabric, along with a leftover piece from “Dance Floor/La Divina” from a previous post. I made a swim suit from the remnant—which by the way, was intended to wear with the dress from the prior project.

the Kwik Sew pattern


I most heartily recommend Kwik Sew 3064 swim suit pattern for these reasons: 1) I couldn’t find another one piece swim suit pattern anywhere, so ordered this one online from fabric.com 2) it’s an awesome pattern, contemporary, easy, has great instructions, and 3) it’s very adjustable.
I used a designated STRETCH needle, size 75. The recommended stitches I used were a reinforced zig-zag for applying elastic, a small zig-zag with a standard machine overlock (not serger, although it is listed as an option) for seaming. Oh, and the pattern calls for a machine blind-hem stitch on the hem of the front wrap piece. I’ve found that machine blind hem process to be more than a bit tricky!

using the right needle saves a hassle


wrap front

contrast color back and panty


So here it is, my postaweek 2011 remnant project.

A midsummer night’s seersucker remnant project

I wanted to get away from the boxy-shaped projects and do APPAREL again. Clothes can be fun to sew, although to me, it’s about as fun as trying to paint a duplicate of the Sistine Chapel using a q-tip. I’m always glad when the project’s over and I didn’t have a stress meltdown.

This project is another rendition of the Simplicity Project Runway dress #2444 that I first did in February 2011. The remnant I used was a little piece of white cotton to make a contrasting collar.

what's left of the remnant

As soon as I cut out the cape collar, Grayzie parked his considerably large carcass on what was left of it, establishing territorial rights. Next project=cat bed?

understitching the collar facing


The main fabric I used was a baby pink and white cotton seersucker by designer Calvin Klein, which I found at Fabric Mart at a too good to pass up price. It’s rather stretchy, so maybe it has a little spandex in it. Still cool and summery. The dress has side-seam pockets, too!

belt is braided non-leather material

back view

I could have added a sash, tied in front or in back, but in the seersucker material, it would have been bulky, like wearing a big ol’ fanny pack. Hence the store-bought little white belt, which I think looks demure and Land’s End-Meets-June-Cleaver-like. Shirtwaist dresses and little frocks like this seem to be making a comeback, minus the bouffant hairdo y’all. Come ahead on, August!

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