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Circle Skirt and Belts

While I have been not been busy blogging lately I have been busy creating and producing.

CircleSkirtI finally finished the half circle skirt, not sure I will ever undertake a full circle skirt just because I will have to hem it and I am not skilled enough to ease the fullness of the hem with a sewing machine. I am pleased with the result. Initially when I cut it out and started sewing it, a year ago, I was a bit heavier so when I resumed assembly a month ago I had to do some refashioning. I folded over the waist band, which was quite wide, and added some elastic to the waist instead of putting in a zipper as I originally planned. The polka dot fabric was a bold print decision but I think with the right styling I can pull it off. It was a bit thin and see through under the white dots so I lined with with some white broadcloth.

BeltObiAnother project I finished this week was an obi belt. I decided to make this belt because I like the fashion of wide belts, however, I could not find a wide belt in the stores. I suspect they might have gone out of style, fortunately I do not care if they are over because I’m going to sport my obi belt regardless of the fashion. I got the pattern free from burda style and I got the fabric out of the clearance bin at walmart. I liked the fabric because it had a stripe woven into the fabric and it is a color that will go with many of the things in my closet. I put a piece of stiff canvas in between the two layers to give it some body. I also used grosgrain ribbon as the ties because making a tube with the fabric would have made thick ties which would be unflattering when tied. ObiI also altered the pattern a bit to make the belt longer. Following the pattern the belt only wrapped around the front half of my waist so there was only ribbon in the back. I did not care for this look so I made the belt longer to go all the way around my waist. This was a really quick and simple project. I plan to make at least two more of these belts, one with brown canvas and white burlap and potentially a belt buckle, another with two neckties from Goodwill.

Belt3The final project I completed this week was a chainmaille belt with two hop drops. All the parts of the belt are a half persian 3 in 1 weave using rings with a larger aspect ratio so that the chains would be more flexible and the weave would have a more open appearance. I got the inspiration for this belt from an episode of Glee where they performed Bon Jovi and their attire for the performance with black leather and chains. I think I achieved my goal, the belt is figure flattering and has an 80s quality to it. Belt

A Most Excellent Trip to Goodwill and a Completed Skirt Refashioning

Last week I went to Goodwill looking for a few key pieces I need for some upcycling and refashioning plans I had. I was looking for a denim jacket, a couple large men’s t-shirts and some men’s dress pants. I left the store after spending 33 dollars, a large quantity of money at Goodwill, but I did not have any of the items for which I went into the store. Instead I found some amazing items in new or near new condition as you can see in the pictures below.

I got a black Gap skirt that I think had never been worn because the two back slits had never been opened. I bought this skirt with the plan to galaxy paint it however I can not bring myself to paint on this skirt. I also found a tea length brown linen skirt from the Gap, a blue high-waisted linen skirt, and two pair of pants to refashion into skirts one from Bass and one from Geoffrey Beane. I also got a black and white skirt from Banana Republic which I think was surrendered to Goodwill because the black lining shows a little bit at the bottom, as you can see in the picture. Lucky for me I know how to remedy this, I plan to hem the lining. As you can see in the last picture, I also got a long, green and black striped, faux wrap skirt with buttons on the side. Refashioned SkirtIt is a bit frumpy so I planned to hem it, then a moment of inspiration struck and I decided that instead of simply cutting it off and hemming it I would make it into a bubble skirt. This required several attempts because the faux wrap section of the skirt produced some hiccups. But the third time was the charm and I successfully converted it into a bubble skirt, which I think is much more stylish and actually something I will wear.

Another Goodwill find, I mentioned in a previous post, was a green vintage wool and fur swing coat. I thought I would share some pictures of this fabulous coat with everyone. It is by far my biggest Goodwill score to date, which is why I forked over 15 dollars for it. It needs a little work, that collar was sewn on by hand and is starting to come off on the edges, which can easily be mended. Also the buttons on the coat, which I assume are the original buttons, are heinous. I think they are quite possibly some of the ugliest buttons I have ever seen. Thus I plan to replace the buttons with some flat buttons that will match the fur collar. I will share the results once I get all the alterations made.

I hope that next week I will finally be finished hand hemming my two layered half circle skirt. I would hem it with the sewing machine but easing the fullness with the machine is beyond my current skill set and the fabric is polka dot so I have to switch thread color frequently. I don’t think I will ever undertake a full circle skirt just because of how long it will take to hem a full circle unless I learn to ease the fullness on the sewing machine. Next week, I also plan to share my first attempt at galaxy painting on a black t-shirt.

I also have some grand plans for future projects since Walmart has had white and off white jersey knit fabric on sale for 1.50 for the past week so I now have about 12 yards of jersey knit waiting to be dyed, painted and written upon then sewn into something fabulous. Thanks to Burda Fashion I have several patterns which I downloaded for free so I am ready to roll with the projects I have in mind. Now all I need is the most elusive part, time to work.

Upcycled Lace Shorts

A few weeks ago, I saw a pair of shorts on pinterest which inspired me; plus, I already had the materials. The shorts on pinterest had added lace to the bottom of a pair of very short denim shorts with the intention of making them a more wearable length. Personally, I am not comfortable wearing such short shorts with or without lace, so I made my shorts a bit longer. The pants I cut off the make into shorts were originally a pair of Gap jeans which I bought at Goodwill with the intention of making capri pants. As I mentioned in my previous post, when I attempted to make the pants into capris I found the flare at the bottom displeasing so I changed my intention for them and cut them off into shorts.

I left the edges of the shorts frayed and unhemmed. For the lace I used a crocheted table runner that I found at Goodwill a while ago. I washed the table runner in RIT fabric whitener as it was a bit discolored. Then I cut some of the crocheted pieces apart and then cut them in half. These shorts only required a small amount of then disassembled table runner so I still have plenty of crocheted lace for future sewing projects.

After I cut the crocheted pieces in half, I pinned and then basted the pieces along the inside of each leg of the shorts. On the outside seam of both legs I put one small crocheted piece, purely for decorative purposes. I hand sewed the crocheted pieces with navy thread and I angled my stitched to match the weave of the denim so that my stitches would be as invisible as possible. I also stitched some of the edges of the crocheted pieces together. Overall, I am quite pleased with the result, I think I will wear these shorts quite often. I am interested to see how they fray with the sewn in lace.

I am almost finished with my redo of the chalkboard paint spice jars, so I hope to write about that in my next post as well as the completion of another sewing project.

Sweater Arms to Leggings Upcycle

So I finally finished my two pair of boot leggings up cycled from sweaters I got a goodwill. I hope boot leggings are still in fashion in the fall because I finished these just in time for the end of cold weather.

Striped Boot Leggings Chunky Knit Gray LeggingsOne sweater was a men’s American Eagle, navy and khaki green striped, cotton sweater. The other was a chunky knit gray, women’s sweater from Express made partially of wool. I got both sweaters at goodwill for about 3.50 each. The best time to look for sweaters and coats at goodwill is spring and sometimes fall. These are the times when people are going through their winter clothes and discarding unwanted items. I got an amazing vintage, green wool swing coat with a collar made of real fur. Normally, I am opposed to real fur but since this coat was manufactured sometime before 1970 I don’t feel like my purchasing the coat supports or encourages the fur industry.

I digress, making the boot leggings was simple. I cut the sleeves off the sweaters, with pinking shears, as close to the body of the sweater as possible. I then hemmed my raw edge with a small roll hem and hand stitching. Sewing sweater knit turned out to be much easier than I expected. On the striped pair I added a strip of thin elastic inside the hem because they had too much flare at the bottom thus they were uncomfortable to wear.

I am considering adding some ‘flare’ to the top of the gray pair, maybe ribbon or a button. I will have to contemplate the options and see if anything looks good.

I am almost finished with one dress up cycled from a men’s shirt and my first effort at making a circle skirt. Technically, the skirt is a half circle skirt. I can see a significant improvement in my sewing skills lately. Suddenly everything is just starting to click and make more logical sense. I have not tried anything really difficult like a coat or topstitching but I really want to try a jacket with a peplum in the back, that will be a good test of my current skills and develop some new sewing skills.

Homemade Softblocks

While I was pregnant I attended a homemade baby fair held by Parents as Teachers and from this event I got the idea to make some of my own homemade baby toys. To make blocks like this is simple.

I bought some fabric from Walmart, these require a very small about of fabric. I bought about  six fat quarters and after making three blocks I had a plethora of fabric leftover. I also bought some washable stuffing from Walmart and some jingle bells from Micheal’s. These blocks can be made for about ten dollars with some stuffing and jingle bells leftover.

First I washed all my fabric in baby detergent and I cut out six squares for each block. Then I sewed four squares together in a straight row. Next I sewed two squares onto the sides of one of the squares in the row. Then I sewed all the squares together to form a cube, except for one edge so that I could turn the block right side out and put in the stuffing. Then I hand sewed the last edge.

I added the fabric tags into some of my seams so that the blocks are easier for small uncoordinated hands to hold.

In one of the blocks I put several jingle bells and in another I put a mint tin with beads in it. These two blocks make sound when the baby shakes them. For the third block I wanted it to crinkle when the baby grabbed it so I washed an empty chip bag and sewed it to the inside of the fabric squares before I started assembling the block.

My baby loves these blocks and I like them much better than the soft blocks you buy at the store.

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