Saturday, November 14, 2015

In the beginning there was.....

I graduated high school in 1975. Yep, that ages me a bit. But I was very aware of the fabulous 60's and the cool fashions that came out of that era. I can remember sewing crochet flowers to my very cool denim navy surplus jeans. Big bells and all. The military surplus store the next town over was the only place to purchase the utmost cool fashions. Pea-coats, sailor pants, army jackets... you name it. Unfortunately it went the wayside to the hipsters and their stock-brokerage firms and high end shopping centers.

So I have this very wonderful and interesting friend in Australia. (They call it OZ. I think that is so cool.) My friend Karen Ellis has a brilliant  blog called RudeRecord. Her and her husband are all about being frugal, recycling and reusing as much as possible to reduce waste. That is the utmost cool thing!

Karen told me about a book she wanted a look see at but it was out of print and not available in OZ. Also shipping from the US was more than she could deal with. Sooo, I checked it out.

With a measly purchase price of $5.98 including shipping, I was up to the task to help her out.

And then I procrastinated..... for a long time. Cuz that's how I roll some days. But she gave me a gentle reminder the other day and I knew I needed to get this done!

So to start... here is the cover.

It was written in 1976 by Diana Funaro.

Multitudes of great information is covered. So much that there is no way I can cover it all. But knowing my friend, I figured anything that dealt with up-cycling or re-purposing something might help.

So back to the 60's. First came the jean skirt. Then of course the inserts into those wonderful big bell bottom pants. The book covers how to do both. I scanned a picture of the jean skirt for you.
Most of the book looks like this as far as illistrations. Not many actual photos. I didn't think they did a good job of representing the garments. So I passed on those. (Sorry Karen.)

The classic jean skirt with the insert. A staple for the 60's gal.

 Of course there was another style of jean skirt too.
The cut off skirt with a different fabric at the bottom.
Shameless plug for two of my jean skirt creations. This is my modern take on the last picture.

Yep, I'm kind of a messy scrappy kind of girl. By the way, I used all kinds of jean scraps to make these.
Any whoooo, back to the book.
(I just realized I got stuck on skirts here.)

So here a couple more pages from the book.

They are about making wrap skirts from tablecloths and such. I love wrap skirts. They are great for dealing with size issues. One size can fit quite a few different sizes.

Here is one more popular skirt. The handkerchief skirt.
This is a very simple one! Just sew four square hankies together, fold and cut a circle for the waistband. Attach a waistband and you are set!

Here is one that would have helped me the other day with a sweater upcycle. (I really need to read more of this book!)
This is taking out a turtleneck collar and changing it to a crew neck collar. Needless to say, I botched mine terribly and it is very "free form" right now. Sigh... now I know what to do for next time.

So these were some of the easy projects I found. There is so much more! It goes into all kinds of alterations and instructions on different embellishments as well. Beading, applique, embroidery and more.
Again, every thing is pretty much line drawings but if you are good at following written instructions (I am not! Surprised?) you should do great.

So hopefully I was able to give Karen in OZ (soooo coool!!!) a good idea about this book.
Now, I need to go and fix that damn sweater collar!

If you just have to have this wonderful vintage book. You can get it on Amazon here...
It is offered at many different prices. Don't let the $0.04 fool you. I think it will cost a bit more. ...

Until next time!
Oh, and my skirts are on my Etsy website along with some pretty cool patched jeans.

Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Yay, it's done and a bit artsy if I do say so....

So today was one of those days in the sewing room. I actually knocked over my big pin box. Think those small little see through boxes and add 3 more. All over the floor and I didn't have a magnet anymore. Sigh.

However my flea market purchase of a very old but sturdy Singer serger was a success.  It works great!  It is unfortunately set at a tiny binding hem. So I had to use my Huskylock on this sweater. It usually bogs down and I end up with a terrible mess. But today it behaved and sewed the sleeves of this sweater perfectly!

So obviously I figured out the sleeve problem. I had this large heavy cotton shirt and the sleeves were perfect! This really was a fun project to make and took me out of my comfort zone. I literately just took the scissors and cut up the front. I had no idea how I was going to fix it.
If you didn't check out my past post... here is my last picture.

I almost left it as a vest. But winter is coming. So sleeves it is.

So here is the finished product.

This is on a plus size manikin size 18/20. Looks pretty good (except for the leaning). I tried it on and I'm a size 16. It looked pretty awesome. It is all cotton and would be prefect over a t-shirt or other shirt. The sleeves are just a heavy cotton. Not a soft flannel. But I love it anyway. I will be adding it to my Etsy store soon.

Thanks so much for stopping by!!

Friday, September 18, 2015

A Work In Progress...

Trying to get my MoJo back after a bout of just not feeling it. It comes and goes of course. But I'm back to it with gusto!

The weather (hopfully!!!) will be cooling down soon. So time to get those sweaters out that need an overhaul.

I forgot to take a picture of the before on this... sorry about that.

It was just a plain grey turtle neck sweater with long sleeves.

Out came the scissors and I hacked up the front sideways and through the collar.

I had this pair of button panels buttoned together waiting patiently for me to figure out where they belong.  They begged and pleaded to play with this sweater.
I added a triangle of a very heavy green flannel from a shirt I have been cutting off of for a while now. The little black dot on the right is a horse. I might applique something over it because I think it looks funny.

So this is what I have so far. Oh, and I cut off the sleeves.

I know, it is a nice picture with my pretty background. Usually I do it in my messy sewing room. But I was in there anyway....

Here is a closeup of the inserts down the middle.

I sewed one side (the button panel side) with a serger and did a small zig zag stitch on the side with the dark green.

I"m in a pickle as to what to do about sleeves. I cut them off and tried these wonderful heavy black and white checked sleeves but they were too small for the armhole. This may end up as a vest.

Any whoo, back to work! So many ideas!!!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

I'm Celebrating!

I’m about to be featured on a wonderful upcycling  blog from down under! The post goes up in the next day or so. The blog is called Rude Record and they are masters at the upcycling and reusing game. So be sure to check them out and my blog post. There are even pictures of my messy sewing “studio”. So in celebration, I thought I would post a tutorial of one of my favorite dresses to make. 

So without further adieu, here is my tutorial for the shirt-sleeve dress.

  • A knit or button down the top shirt that fits you well.
  • Two to four men’s cotton long sleeve shirts.
  • Rotary cutter, mat and ruler.
  • A manikin is helpful but not mandatory.
  • Sewing supplies (pins and such).
  • Sharp large scissors.
  • Matching thread.
Start out with a top. It can be a favorite t-shirt, knit top or button down the front top.
Measure down from the armpit seam about 6 to 7 inches. If you are big busted, you will want to go with 7 inches.

I use a ruler and rotary cutter, but you can just as easily use scissors. Just try to cut a straight line.
Put it on the manikin if you have one. You can still manage without one. It is just a bit easier with one.

Cut the sleeves off of the men’s shirts as close to the shoulder seam as possible. You will need four sleeves.
Cut off the cuff. (you can use this to make a sweet little pouch like this later.)

Cut along the sleeve seam to open up the sleeve flat. I usually iron it at this point.

Button up the little slit where the cuff use to be. Sometimes I sew a little line to hold it shut.  If it doesn’t have a button, you want to sew it closed.
Pin the first sleeve on underneath the top at the narrow end of the sleeve. I pin about an inch under the raw edge of the top.

Continue pinning and overlap each sleeve a bit. Pin the long edge of the sleeves together for sewing later. Usually four sleeves are enough to go around up to an Xlarge top. Over lap as much as needed to make the four sleeves fit.
Unpin the sleeve skirting from the top and sew up the side seams sewing all the sleeves together.

 Lay the skirt on the cutting mat and fold it up until only one sleeve is showing. 

Measure down fourteen (14”) Inches from the top and using your ruler and rotary cutter, cut across the sleeve skirting through all the layers.
Pin the top part of the skirting back onto the top and sew with a zig zag stitch. 

Arrange the part you cut off back onto the skirting, only offset the fabrics so seams and fabrics don’t match. You might need a few tucks here and there. That’s OK. Just do what you need to make it fit. Sew it to the top skirting with a zig zag stitch.

The bottom should look something like this.  

I have decided to add side ties to this one. But just haven’t sewn them on yet.

You can cut the top skirting even shorter if you want and instead of adding the bottom back on, you can add bits of lace, linen strips… anything else you might find that fits.
 Here is an example.
 I actually cut a strip from the bottom part of the removed skirting and added the ruffle of other scraps for color. This is a wonderful dress to experiment with and use up all kinds of bits and bobs.

Oh dear! I just realized how messy my sewing room must look. It does get a bit out of hand at times. (How embarrassing!) I was just too excited about the post for the RudeRecord!
But there you have it. My favorite shirt sleeve dress. If you pop over to the RudeRecord blog you can see a few others I have created.

Have fun!


Monday, May 18, 2015

I just had to give it a try

The Curious Orange Cat jumped up on my computer the other day. He said I am not utilizing the affiliate income opportunities out there. (I think secretly he needs new kitty toys.) So, I'm trying something new. Everyone says affiliate marketing is the way to go to help with making money with your blog. I have put this off for sooo long. I feel a little guilty. But then I'm not forcing anyone. So there's the thing. It is easy. See the little Amazon box on the right of my blog? You can click the Amazon logo. If you click that and go into Amazon via my blog and you make a purchase.... I get a little cash. Not a lot. It doesn't cost you any more either. It takes quite a few sales to add up. But then again, who knows. I hate ads all over blogs so I promise this is the only one you will see. So, can you help a girl out and if you can time. Come here, click my Amazon search and away you go. The Curious Orange Cat thanks you. This will help keep him in kitty toys for sure!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Blue Jean Upcycle Part Deux

So, I got the waistband covered. I broke two size 100 needles to do it. It gets a bit thick along the seam line. I dropped the feed dogs and used my darning food to messy sew everything on.
I sewed the belt loops back on. Not to bad if I say so myself. 

Next I appliqu├ęd the flower and other embellishments. I still had my darning foot on. Here is a picture of the starting point.
...and the finished flower. By the way, big flowers like this one are great ways to learn and practice free form sewing.
I added a little bird from one of my favorite fabrics. 

The back needed a little something too. I thought some vines would work nicely. I of course used my Accucut to cut out the vines.

Here is the finished product! 


I still want to through it in the wash and see if everything holds up. I have a pile of jeans and guess what I'm doing tonight??? Yep, seam ripping the side seams. I have plans for tomorrow! 

Until later!! 


Blue Jeans Upcycle...A work in progress

Being a child of the 60's patched blue jeans are nothing new to me. I use to sew all kinds of stuff on my jeans. Crochet flowers were my go to most of the time. Oh, I was soooo cool.

Fast forward many years.... I'm needing some new inspiration. I keep hearing from family and friends that I need to do patchwork jeans. Ok, I get the message!  After a bit on Pinterest for inspiration I came up with these. I LOVE the waistband.

I couldn't find a good source to credit for the picture. So all I can do is say, check out the thread on Pinterest and maybe you can find the original source. I could not. So sorry who ever you are... but your jeans are AWESOME.

So here is where I begin...

 Boxes and baskets filled with fabrics some with Wonder-under already ironed on, some not. I dump everything out and start looking for cool stuff.

I used my seam ripper to cut the outside leg seams. That way I can use my sewing machine to sew everything down and sew it back up again with no one knowing the difference!

I found this really awesome flower from a Kaffe Fassett fabric I had cut out long time ago. It was so big I just couldn't decide how to use it. These jeans begged me for it. Yes, the clothes do talk to me. They can be so bossy!

I ironed it on the front of one pant leg.

I'm still working on what other things to add. But this is my base inspiration.

So I also needed to deal with the waistband. That was my favorite part of the Pinterest jeans.

A bit of un-stitching was in order. I needed the belt-loops to get out of the way! So I used my seam ripper to cut the threads on the top part of the belt-loop only. I kept the bottom so I could just sew the top back up without having to try to figure out where it use to be.
Now for the fun part. I measured the waistband and cut pieces of fabric a little longer than needed. ( I'll cut it down later. They all had Wonder-under on them so I ironed them down the best I could.

Note: I used a Teflon ironing sheet to keep the sticky stuff from getting on my ironing board.

I will messy sew them down later..... To Be Continued.....