Sunday, June 30, 2013

More Upcycled Tank Tops

These projects are rather boring, but useful nonetheless. Sadly my sewing machine and I have been unable to spend much time together due to VBS decorations looming over me (and invading every corner of my house). These two tank tops were made from t-shirts my neighbor gave me. And it is here I would like to add that all these fancy bloggers who post gorgeous pictures of their children...well...I am pretty sure getting those kind of pictures must involve copious amounts of bribery and a sprinkling of death threats. I skipped the bribery and death threats, and these are the pictures I came up with.

(This shirt is my favorite! You can't tell, but it has glitter and little tiny gems to bedazzle it)

Friday, June 28, 2013

Inside Out Bag

A couple of months ago I found this tutorial for the "Inside Out Bag" over at the Purl Bee (click here for their instructions) and loved the simplicity of it. I finally got around to making it and I think it's going to be a perfect summer bag. I used a really nice canvas that I've been hoarding for over a year and some Amy Butler fabric that caught my eye recently. This is an easy project that doesn't take a lot of fabric, webbing or bias tape.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


I am a slow knitter. Like, realllllllly slow. I am afraid that this washcloth took me longer than any washcloth should ever take. And its not even square. I cast on too many stitches and it was pretty wide and after I worked through a whole skein of yarn I decided to cast off while I still had all my marbles (relatively speaking). It is not quite square, and I steamed it a bit which helped. I have some practicing to do!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Little Blue Truck Journal

Last week I had a baby shower for a friend. The theme was Little Blue Truck, because I like a good book theme. While preparing for the baby shower, I realized I have something like mental illness. I came to this realization when I was half way through carving a Little Blue Truck stamp. To stamp the napkins. Because who does that? The ladies at the shower teased that I made the ink myself too, and when I was done made blue hair dye for a friend. And hey, that's not a bad idea. ;) Instead of a 'traditional' gift for the baby, I decided to make a journal. The mom likes to journal and so I made this for her to write for the baby. The front says 'Dear Grayson,' and the back says 'Love, Mom'. 

Earring Holder of Awesomeness

My friend Erin sent me this cool earring holder which she made by simply spray-painting a cheese grater. I love it! 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Wrapper Dress

 I (finally) finished the dress I was making for one of the ladies at Howell Living History Farm. The time period the farm is set up to represent is 1890 to 1910, and this style of dress is appropriate to the time period. I am hoping to get pictures of her wearing the dress soon. Although the dress is not fitted per se, it took a lot of work to get it right. The pattern was a 1970's reprint of an historical pattern, and it had some funky things going on. The biggest issue was the front of the dress. Inside there is a built-in vest to keep things in, but it wasn't really that long. The front of the bodice was completely open, and the opening was longer than the inner vest leaving a large gap. It was unclear what they did historically, and hook and eyes have been the solution at the farm for the most part. I extended the front pieces to add a hidden button placket...I would explain but its pretty confusing! It ended up working great and there is now a hidden row of buttons to keep things from getting scandalous.

The ruffle on the bottom was sewn ON TOP of the skirt, so the top had to be finished. After studying the original 1900 Sears Catalog, we decided it would be OK to add a bias tape trim over the ruffle edge.

The dress originally had a belt that was sewn on but all the women at the farm wear aprons and the belt is sort of redundant. To make it optional, I sewed a little stay over the pleats and added buttons. The belt can be buttoned on or removed.

And the pleats....oh, the pleats. I think there were 42 teeny-tiny pleats on each side. It was pretty much a pain in the neck. I was able to sneak in some piping, though, after some discussion amongst various people about whether it was suitable. I am glad I got the OK to add it, because it really adds to the dress and goes with the bias tape at the hem. Many, if not most, of the women there have dresses made from the same pattern so it is nice to add unique features. 

The lady who received this dress has worked for the farm something like 25 years and I think she said this is her 3rd or 4th dress. They really wear them out. She gave me her last dress to take measurements from and I couldn't even use it because it was in such tatters it would rip when I tried to smooth it out. It was pretty shredded up and very faded. The ladies who sew their own dresses might have 2 or 3 dresses, but I think those that rely on others to sew their dresses end up with one dress to wear all the time. 

Since this dress will be worn a lot, I tried to make it as nicely as possible. All the seams are French seams, even the curved ones that shape the back bodice. It think this dress took at least 7 or 8 yards of fabric!

Monday, June 10, 2013

VBS Decorations: Kingdom Chronicles

 I am in charge of VBS decorations again this year. The theme is Kingdom Chronicles which is sort of a Medieval/castle/knights type of! Here are a few things I have worked on so far:

I made this stained glass window by cutting the design out of heavy black paper (from good ol' Amazon). It was pretty cumbersome to do, but I put clear contact paper across the whole thing with the sticky side up. Then I layered squares of tissue paper all over and then covered it with another layer of contact paper. We have at least 5 more of these to make...time to delegate! :)

These are torches to hang on the walls of the 'castle'. They are made of rolled up gold corrugated paper and the flames are made of orange and yellow tissue paper and metallic red deco mesh. Deco mesh is the trendy thing right now and I happen to think it is uglier than all get out, but it works for this project!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

This Is A Public Service Announcement

You know how patterns always warn you to pre-wash your fabrics? Well, this is why:

I bought this shirt a few weeks ago and it is was super cute. I got a lot of compliments the first few times I wore it. And then...I washed it. I didn't even dry it, and look what happened! The geniuses who made this shirt obviously didn't bother to prewash the fabric and now the ruffles are too short and there is no way it is going back to its original glory. It has been relegated to the trash. Boo! I happen to religiously pre-wash my fabrics as soon as I buy them so there is no mystery about whether the material has been pre-shrunk. Also, it makes it easy to start a project quickly instead of having to wait to wash and dry your fabric. 

**Thus concludes today's Public Service Announcement. Now go forth and pre-shrink your fabric!**

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Our Brother

 It just so happens that our brother inherited the creative gene too. He recently took up drawing again after a long hiatus. Here is the first installment of a series he has planned of wild animals and music. This one is called Elefunk and the elephant is holding a boombox.

When he finished it, he slapped it in a store bought frame and used the mat it came with. I had to have an intervention. The mat was just not happening. It was too large and came right to the edges of his drawing. He brought it over here and I cut a double mat for it. Much better! A mat cutter is a great thing to invest it, or even better, have your sister buy one and do it for you. :) But seriously, when I was in school I had to mat a lot of my work and it was outrageously expensive. I have had my mat cutter for about 10 years and I have gotten so much use out of it. One large sheet of mat board costs $5 and can be cut into 4-6 mats! 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Zippy Wallet with Marimekko fabric

I found the tutorial for this project a few years ago (find it here on Noodlehead) but never got around to making it. I'm traveling soon and suitcase/purse real estate is limited so I wanted to make something that could stash the essentials and fit inside a SMALL crossbody bag.
I used a piece of Marimekko fabric that I scored a couple of years ago at a Crate and Barrel outlet.
 The zipper is from one of my mom's yardsale adventures that resulted in copious amounts of vintage sewing supplies.
 I used a 14mm sew in snap that I got as a free sample....sweet!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Embroidered Kitchen Towel

A while ago I asked my sister if she would draw me an embroidery design that involved a set of silverware holding hands with hats on. I'm cheesy like that and love handmade items in my kitchen so when I was gifted with this awesome towel I was quite happy :) I think the moustache is a particularly awesome touch!