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.....

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Beginning Sewing Classes In The Dalles Oregon

 Yay! I'm teaching sewing classes at  Lines of Designs (Boulder Path Designs) in The Dalles!

Classes will start with beginning sewing and progress through more advance projects.
You can find everything under the class link above in the tool bar!

Basic Sewing classes will include: pillowcases, a simple cinch backpack and a quilt as you go lap quilt.

Upcycled clothing classes will include: Bustle Jacket, a simple t-shirt top, Fancy lagenlook dress and a pullover sweater into a cardigan.

More classes will be added as the word gets out!

Check class links for dates and times!

First up will be a pillowcase or upcycled t-shirt top class. You can get more information here: Beginning sewing class information
Upcycled T-shirt Beginning Class 

Classes Coming Soon:

Cinch Backpack Beginning 2 class

Quilt As You Go Strip Quilt Class
Fancy Lagenlook Upcycled Dress 
Pullover Sweater to Cardigan 
Bustle Jacket

For Upcycled Clothing Classes, you can get more information here: Upcycled Clothing Class Information

For more sewing classes, you can get more information here: Beginning to Advanced Classes

There is a two student minimum and a four student maximum for each class. Classes are for ages 12 and above. If we don't have two students, the class will be cancelled and your money refunded or you may use it as credit for another class.

Classes are held at Lines of Designs (Boulder Path Designs)
110 East 2nd Street, The Dalles, OR 97058

For more information contact Bunny Henningsen:
or Lines of Designs: 541-296-4470

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A Beautiful Mess

I got an email from Cynthia at Altered Couture Magazine the other day. She was asking for submissions for next year. I always panic a bit thinking there is no way I can produce anything good enough. But then I always give it a go and try anyway.
I love scrappy fairy skirts but honestly hate the process. I over think things to the point where I have so many unfinished projects laying around. But I finally found a formula for making them in a reasonable amount of time without my OCD ADD Bipolar personality kicking in. ( oh yah, I'm a mess but only if you can hear the voices in my head. Muwahhahahaha)

Ok, down to earth again. Sigh... maintain soldier!

I started with this....

Scraps of linens, lace, hankies, doilies... what ever I just couldn't throw away. I"m such a pack rat.
I cut a big square of printed muslin and cut a really long spiral out of it. Then I started sewing the scraps along the strip of muslin until I had a really long strip of all these scraps.

I had a lined skirt I had cut the outer layer almost all off. It still had maybe 8 inches left along with the complete top of the skirt.
I started at the bottom of the lining and pinned the strip in a spiral pattern until I got to the top just under the skirt. I turned under the skirt and sewed through all the layers. It turned out very nice If I say so myself.

Here is the beautiful mess in the sewing machine...

And the finished product.

I hope Altered Couture likes it! It will eventually be in my Etsy store. Oh, and it is a size 12.


Monday, December 8, 2014

My Therapist Said There Would Be Days Like This.....

Woke up this morning with so many ideas in my little ADD brain. So I decided to gather the troops and let the hamster brain go.
I have 5 dress forms now. Anorexia, Skinny B, Mia (as in it fits me), Broken Blue, and Rosie. (she looks like Rosie the Robot from the Jefferson's.)

Here are three of the girls getting ready for my creative endeavors.

I have been reading a bunch of blogs and articles about how to make my blog better and how to stand out more. ( to my all of 4 readers...).One of the things that keep coming around was for your readers to see your process. (I"m did say I had to do that.) Well, my process is a bit scattered most of the time. I have a sewing room filled to the brim with thrift store finds and donations from friends. Here is just a peek at my supplies.

The last one is a work in progress with a tall bookshelf behind packed with t-shirts. There are three baskets under the table filled with shirts and shirtsleeves. Soo much stuff!! I can't tell you how many times I have tried to organize everything.

It becomes a bit of an obsession to collect the perfect garment for upcycling. I do believe I will be purging to regroup soon though. I have more than I can ever use and it can get overwhelming at times.
So the girls help out. I chose three tops to fit the three girls and start there. It helps me focus to some point. So when I start to spazz out, I just make sure I'm working on one of the three outfits. Then I do't feel so out of control.
So that is a peek into my process. I'll post more later on.

Stay warm and safe!