Sunday, February 21, 2010

weekend dabbling...

I managed to do a crafting hat trick +2 this weekend - knit, crochet, paper piece some hexes, embroider and sew. No major projects were accomplished, but I happily dabbled a bit here and there. I won't bore you with my knitted and crocheted wash cloths (only because they are already in use), but of course I'll share the other endeavors with you!

The knitting, crocheting and paper piecing are all part of my goal of having a project bag handy when I am out and about. I seem to have these random hours where I am waiting for a child - be it volleyball, religion classes, doctor appointments, whatever. For this hour, I would sit and think "Ack - wish I could get some crafting done!". Though I usually have my kindle to read, it does not feel very productive. I finally gathered the proper materials together and have myself a "to go" bag for crafting. I threw in some yarn, knitting needles and a crochet hook, some embroidery floss, a hoop, needles, marking pen, and some dishtowels, as well as a kit to do some hexagon paper piecing. This post set me up - explaining not only HOW to do the hexagons, but what to bring along to do it on the go. Here is my first hexagon flower (OK, honestly it is my second, the first failed miserably, and is not fit for photography) - destined to be a pillow embellishment someday:

Friday night I also did some quick sewing. Quick is the operative word here. I took the Dinosaur top sheet I thrifted earlier this week and made a quick blanket. Quick meaning I faced a vintage bedspread to the right side of the sheet, sewed along the edges leaving a small gap, flipped it right side out and top stitched it closed. Super quick. Now, along with the matching thrifted duvet, Griffin has matching blankets on his bunks (mind you, for $7).

Finally, today, the beasties and I made cute felt watches, inspired by this post. Mine are not nearly as precise and pretty as the inspirations, but surprisingly, the kids love them ALOT. I'm not saying surprising because they are not wonderful, but surprising because the kids rarely LOVE things I make them. They may like them, or tolerate them, but they rarely love them so much they will not take them off at bedtime. I made Rowan's watch from craft felt, but it felt rather flimsy. I decided to make Griffin's from wool felt... and his feels so much more sturdy. We may have to re-do Rowan's if she continues to wear it. They are closed with Velcro, and are accurate exactly 2 times a day.

Griffin says it is "Eighty ninety o'clock".

Rowan chose her own felt colors and asked for her watch to be 7 0'clock since that is when she wakes up.

I've may have a messy house, and laundry mountain is quickly approaching eruption, but my creative spirit is much appeased.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I did it again....

No, not sing another Britney song, but I made another Schoolhouse tunic. Well, another Schoolhouse Shirt. I know I just made one two posts ago, but now that I had the pattern all traced, this one was even easier-breezier than the first time. I wanted to make one more rendition in thrifted fabric before I contemplated purchasing some "real" fabric to make a nice (read: spendy) shirt. Here is Schoolhouse Tunic number 2...

I tried this one in an even lighter/flowy-er (probably not a real word, sorry) thrifted fabric than last time. It is pretty sheer, and required a tank underneath... but it still sewed together quick and easy. I don't LOVE this fabric, but it was good for a second trial, and I will wear it for certain. Well, actually I did wear it to work today, so there. It proved it's worth already. Score one for thrifted fabric that just slightly resembles the material they make hospital scrubs from.

As for modifications, this time I ended up creating a cuff-type sleeve, since I like it rolled up anyways. Obviously, I did it shirt length again. This was more due to the amount of fabric I had on hand, I rather think I'd like the dress better in this drapey-er (yes, I know, definitely not a word) material. I really REALLY wanted to add ruffles like this adorable tutorial, but when I pinned them on, I realized I'm not much of a ruffle girl. Huh, who knew? Maybe the complete lack of ruffles in my wardrobe until this point may have hinted at this, but I still found it surprising. Then I added the buttons to the placket that I had pondered last time. And, as you may notice, I removed them, as they were distracting and ugly. Last, I tried wearing it with a belt, and it looked like I was with child. Since I am not (well, not with one on the inside, just 2 on the outside), and because this was not a look I was aiming for, the belt was ditched as well. Here it is on...

A close up of the cuffed sleeve.

Griffin wanted to be part of the shoot too... he is wearing his "Daddy coat" and showing you how a T-Rex looks. Scary, huh? Luckily, my photographer Rowan is the consummate professional and not easily cowed!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Thrifty Wednesday

It seems I should have a reoccurring theme post of Thrifty Mondays and/or Wednesdays. Since Griffin goes to pre-school these days, we have the mornings to go on our thrift store adventures. I'm not (too) ashamed to admit he is easily convinced to behave with a small bribe of a dinosaur book. Hey, it is a book, not toys or candy! While I feel I may be spending more on thrifting, my overall budget is soundly in the black. I don't think I've bought any new NEW clothes for the beasties since school started in September because I've been able to find clothes for the here and there, picking things up bit by bit...sometimes hitting the mother load, other times walking out with nothing. I am thrilled with how much repurposing and recycling we've done the past few months. Yes - make fun of the (wanna be) green girl, but I'm trying to not buy things we don't need, and for what we do, to get as much of it second hand as possible. You would not believe (unless you are a thrift store junkie, like me) the treasures you can find. For reals.

Anyhoo...I'm getting close to the deadline of the Vintage Swap, so I wanted to do one quick run today to find a few more things for my partner. Well, it is not THAT close to the deadline of March 1st, but my partner is in New Zealand, and I'm guessing it may take a while for the package to ship.

See all the thrifted goodness we found? The suitcase, the lamp, all the sheets, the pillowcases- Hooray! Selfishly, most of the things are for me, er, us, but some my be swapping material. Maybe :) Or maybe I just did not photograph the things I'll be sending off.... (tricky, oh yes I am).

Truly, I have already gone through my stash of thrifted and garage sale-ed goodness and found some lovelies to be shipped overseas. Most of the items pictured above are not going to be included, but the Swap was the stimulus for today's venture out. That is my story, anyways, and I'm sticking to it. I'll post the swap goodies AFTER my partner has received her package, which I'm shooting to have in the mail Friday.

I'll confess to one thing that most definitely will remain with me. The olive green sheet set on the left hand side - top and bottom sheets and both pillow cases - is perfect for the cabin. We have full size beds there and I don't have a stash of sheets at home in this size to borrow from. It also exactly matches these pj pants of mine- so I'll coordinate well while I sleep!

I found 5 yards of some amazing vintage ribbon - I'm sure Rowan (and maybe me as well) will sport new headbands from this very soon.

Griffin was thrilled when we found a Pottery Barn dinosaur duvet and sheets. $7 for everything - and they are in great shape. He was most happy that the dinosaurs were not "baby dinosaurs" - he hates when they have smiley faces.

I've got everything (well, not the lamp or suitcase, but everything else) in the wash - and am now being asked to read a new dinosaur book. I'm off to determine How Dinosaurs Get Well Soon. Bye Bye...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Schoolhouse Tunic

I have been known to peruse the Sew Liberated flickr pool a bit- and each time I saw another Schoolhouse Tunic added to the mix, I got antsier and antsier to try one of my own. Meg's Emmeline Apron was the first pattern I bought, a couple years back now, when I decided to try to sew something beyond curtains and hems. That pattern was so wonderful (easy to follow, adorable, flattering, etc) that I made them for 6 moms one Mother's Day. This past summer, I made the Woodlands Shirt for Rowan, which was just as easy to follow and detailed. The Schoolhouse Tunic did not disappoint. Here is my new shirt!

I used this thrifted fabric for a bunch of reasons:

  • cost - at $3.99 for 8 yards, if I screwed up, I would not be out really anything at all
  • drape - the fabric is fairly thin, though not see through, and seemed to be the right drape for this shirt.
  • kitsch and cuteness - OK, I'm a vintage junkie and I knew I'd be more apt to wear this if it were fun. I love this print. Maybe a little busy, but I love it!

My sister agreed to model for me, luckily. I was still in my sweat pants and had bed head, so her modeling seemed the better option for us all. The shirt went together fast - the toughest part was tracing out my size. Since we are staying at my mother's house this weekend, I did not have all my equipment with (tracing wheel, freezer paper, etc). I ended up taping the pattern to the sliding glass door and tracing it out onto tissue paper. Not fast, but effective! I was also without my rotary cutter and mat, so I relied on pinning and shears - which took longer than I'm used to as well. I realized that while I don't need all the sewing accessories and tools I've amassed over the past 2 years, they sure make things go faster. I did have, mind you, my mothers trusty Husqvarna, (sister to my own) so the sewing itself was just dandy. Meg's directions were fantastic - and just when I would not quite get it, there would be a drawing to help me understand. It took less than an hour for the actual sewing itself - and I only had to rip out one seam (crooked hem - all my bad, not the fault of the pattern).

Here is me trying to show (somewhat unsuccessfully) how I sewed down the pleat.

I opted for making this shirt length - I actually made it at the tunic length first and just did not love it on me. So I hemmed it up and found it more flattering on me as a shirt. Because I did not follow directions and use the correct seam allowances, it was just a little roomier than I wanted it -but I was able to take it in a bit up either side (probably to where the seam allowances published would have been) and it fits perfect now. I sewed down the 2 pleats in front - so they did not billow out as much. I also hand sewed the placket together about 1/2 way up, since I knew I would want to wear this without having to wear something underneath. Last, I left out the elastic casing for the sleeves, mainly because I thought it would be more comfortable without it.

I'll be making more of these, that is guaranteed. I had to stop myself from adding my mismatched vintage buttons up the placket of this one. Wouldn't that be cute with elastic thread loops on the other side as a closure? This fabric was busy enough... but I think on a more neutral fabric they would be fabulous. I also debated adding belt loops and a belt - maybe I'd like the tunic with a belt? Oh - the possibilities!

Birthday Shirt

My niece turned 11 last week. Ack - 11! How did she get so dang old? I distinctly remember (eleven years ago, I guess) calling Dave (who'd I had only been dating for 2 months or so, but I already knew was "the one") and asking him to run to my rented townhouse and grab me a change of clothes so I could stay with Brianna while she labored. Turned out I did not need a change of clothes. About 45 minutes after my sister's water broke, and 25 minutes after arriving at the hospital, Chloe Jane made her grand entrance. This may have been the first and last time Miss Dawdle Pants was in a hurry to do anything! Here she is at 2 (?) - dang cute, huh?

Trying to come up with a creative 11th birthday shirt (in the spirit of those I love on this blog) was more difficult than I imagined. Tally marks? Too many to make (i.e. I'm too lazy). Roman Numerals? "XI" looked a smidge too much like "XL" for me to put on the outside of a piece of clothes. Spelling "eleven"? Hmmm... fine, but a bit boring. Then I happened upon a fun bit of trivia. Turns out Chloe and Google are both 11 this year - Google celebrated by changing their logo to "Goog11e" for the day... with the l replaced by an 11. Aha! Worked for me...

Here is the birthday girl in her festive shirt...

Here is a close up of the applique. I printed out her name, traced it on Wonder Under, ironed it to the fabric (Tina Givens - love it), cut them out with my trusty embroidery scissors, ironed them to the shirt and then did a quick stitch right inside the letters. It should fray a bit after a washing - which she says will make it better. Huh - who knew my laziness would be to her liking?

Happy Birthday Chloe - we love ya!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I'm back... and with embellished Tshirts!

It has been a long, forced hiatus. I had a small incident with a Ginsu knife, a carrot and the tip of my thumb. The bad news? Well, it is twofold. First, any life of crime I may have aspired to is abruptly over, as I now have a very distinct thumb print and evading arrest may prove difficult. Second, (and more expensively)I have been medicating myself with books & reading while on my sewing diet. As I bragged before, I got a Kindle for Christmas and have found it to be a bit addicting. Addicting enough that I have made some midnight purchases to keep up the momentum of a good series (Lois Gremain people - she rocks! She may have inspired the life of crime bit up above). Addicting enough that I am now having to sew to get over my Kindle addiction. Ha. Round and round....Oh, The good news? I'm all better. And I can sew again!
Last night I embellished a couple t-shirts. Just some quick projects to get be back on the horse... and easy, but so very rewarding! I love how they both turned out.

This shirt was thrifted - I picked it up for $2.99. It is a nice quality knit - fairly thick and like new. I cut up small pieces of other knit shirts and made reverse applique leaves all over the neck and side. It is as easy as drawing the shape on the front, pinning the other fabric behind, sewing over your lines and then cutting out your shape. So easy - the only hard part was how repetitive it was... more tedious than difficult. I used a jersey needle - and wow, wouldn't you know, it sure makes a difference.

I LOVE it.. really do. The leaves are pretty. I think it may be appropriate for Valentines day, no?

The second shirt was inspired by this remake of an Anthro tshirt. I have a small stash of t-shirts I find on Target clearance racks - this one was $3.24. It is a size bigger than I normally would like, but it is nice and long - and not too clingy. I traced the neckline on some Wonder Under, laid out the Amy Butler Lotus fabric that I drool over and covet, and cut out the parts of the fabric I wanted to line the neck. Last, I (quickly) pieced them together on the shirt, ironed the appliques in place, and then stitched around them using a stretch stitch.

Easy, peasy. And much more dressed up than the original, boring t-shirt. Excuse the lack of an iron. It was 11 pm when this was done.

Here is the neck up close.

Rowan would like a version of the leaf shirt for her Valentines Day party tomorrow, so I'm going to use some of the same scraps and see what I come up with! So SO glad to be back in the game~