Friday, December 13, 2013

What to do with a coat that's a wonderful color but unwearable?

Start tearing it up before I even leave the store apparently! (I don't recommend this... I was going to buy it, don't just rip things in stores please).

I found this super cheap wool coat at work (at a thrift store that is). It caught my eye because it was a lovely plum color. I had some ideas for things that needed wool felt, so I figured this might be a good opportunity to try them out without spending a ton of money on wool.

I got too into this project and started ripping before taking a photo, hence the missing sleeve.

Usually I feel super bad ripping apart vintage things because I know they'll never be produced again. Repair and wear comes before destroying/recycling/reconstructing even. I get so sad seeing things that were in good shape destroyed because someone wanted to reconstruct them.
Anyways, in this case, I thought no one would ever buy and wear this coat because of the significant damage it had. You can kind of see in the photo that there was salt stains along the bottom, visible wear along the cuffs/bottom/shoulders, fading, the lining was torn in multiple places, and so on.

The above became this pretty quickly:

This then went straight into the washing machine and through a tumble dry cycle. Don't do that with your good wool coat. I didn't care what happened to this fabric, but I did need it to be cleaned thoroughly. If this washing caused the fabric to felt/shrink, it was a benefit to me because I wanted a thick sturdy felt. I also tested the wash out first on that sleeve I ripped off before taking photos, just in case the fabric disintegrated on me.

At this point, I was left with clean, soft, plum colored felt. I used the reverse side to avoid any discoloration that I might run into, and made two items to start.

The first is a cuff bracelet. It closes with two buttons and has three mobius strips that wrap around your wrist. This was one of the first times I used a rotary cutter. I caved and bought one for small projects like this. Maybe I'll feel better about making bows if I can cut them evenly too... maybe...

The second item is a phone/IPod case. Personally I like a case that attaches to my IPod, but I liked this idea and wanted to try it.

I almost never use the decorative stitches on my machine, so I thought I'd give that a try as well. It finishes off the edges, strengthens the seams, and gives some subtle decoration.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

These outfits make me want to ask people to follow me into the matrix

The fabric I used for these skirts is super cool. It's kind of finicky to sew sometimes because it sticks to itself and other smooth surfaces, but it moves so well as a circle skirt. If I could afford it I would have gotten every possible color, but I settled on these two.

It's a very simple pattern - just a circle and waistband (surprise, surprise). There's no zipper or elastic because the fabric is a strong enough spandex to support itself.

As you can see on the inside, there's really just a waist seam and one connecting the ends of the waistband together. I zigzagged the waistband on to preserve the fabric's stretch.

PS. This skirt along with many of the other items I've been posting lately are available in my shop.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Fur hats - for when your hair isn't fluffy enough

Here are the other hats I cut out a couple weeks ago. These were more of a pain to make because of the fur.

The first one is a simple rectangle hat pattern (this is my favorite way to make a silly hat I think).

It's sort of a mini version of a hat I made for someone else that had 4 ears and angry eyebrows. These eyebrows aren't quite as expressive as I wanted, but oh well. I've also noticed when I make these hats out of fur they end up much smaller than expected. It's probably because the fur doesn't stretch like fleece does.

The other hat is an animal hood. I just barely had enough fabric to cut it out. Oops. I've been working out this pattern for a while now and am pretty satisfied with it at this point. The hanging side bits could have been a few inches shorter, but that's about it.

All of these hats are available on Etsy if anyone is interested.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Show me your teeth

I had a sudden moment of inspiration/motivation a couple weeks ago during which I cut out a couple silly hats. This is the first two of those that I've had the motivation to edit photos for (that kind of motivation is currently more difficult to come by than the sewing kind).

A long time ago I made a zombie hat with teeth for one of my friends. I can't find the pictures of it anywhere even though I'm pretty sure I saw it when I was cutting these out. Hm. Anyways, I thought it was a pretty cool idea I haven't seen used much, so I wanted to try it again (and simplify the construction some). Here's the result, two styles of zombie hat:

This first one is much like the original design. It's made of 4 panels and a bottom band, lined with another layer of the same fleece, and has the teeth sewn between the layers. On the original hat, I made the teeth by sewing them right sides together then flipping, but this leads to extra bulk in the points. This time I did a tight zig-zag around the edges. It seems to work fairly well.

The second hat is pretty much the simplest hat pattern ever, but I like how it works with the monster details.

Instead of just lining it, I made it reversible. The other side reminds me of the biting cat from Azumanga Daioh:

 ...or just some generic monster. Again the teeth are just sewn between the inside/outside layers.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Dogs are okay sometimes

I mean... corgis are super cute. Oh man, with their tiny legs, but big everything else, so cute! This has nothing to do with corgis though. I made a poodle skirt. My supervisor at work gave me some poodle appliques a couple months ago because she never used them like she planned, and for some reason I suddenly got an urge to make a poodle skirt?

I don't really know why.

Here it is though!

It's the usual circle skirt with double elastic waist (my posts are pretty boring aren't they? I pretty much make the same things over and over again... hmm). The fabric seems like a wool blend herringbone though I can't be sure since I got it cheap a long time ago. I used bias binding on the hem (ran out halfway though and had to go buy more, woops.)

This petticoat I recently got is only one layer, but there's so much fabric in the bottom tier that it fills the skirt up like so. Super frilly!

Now I'm thinking about corgis, and kind of want a corgi skirt. I bet corgi appliques exist too...

Sometimes I reconstruct things.

Reconstructing isn't my favorite because I can't control every aspect of what I'm making, but at the same time, there's some benefit of not having to get a ton of details to work. I'm pretty unmotivated when it comes to adding fiddly details to things (bows for example).

I picked up these pants that were a bit too tight and a bit too short, but had so many of those details I would rather not sew.

I intended to just have some pants to wear because I don't have a lot of pants, but with the fit issues... well... hey, I made a skirt.

It came out pretty well, though there's some bulging by the zipper in the front. There isn't much I could do about that without taking the zipper out, which makes it not worth the effort. I wore this skirt the other day and already ripped it getting into a car! What a good time! It split on the center front seam. Clearly, I didn't make the vents large enough. I'll have to re-do the front (I don't really want the back to be more open).

The second skirt I recently reconstructed started out as a mid-calf high-waist skirt. The fabric is pretty cool - it has the printed pattern and then another pattern woven in making designs that are shinier than the background. It also has lacing in the front, shirring in the back, and a button-on back bow.

I'm not a fan of the mid-calf length, so I sewed elastic on all the seams, both lining and outside layer to make this:

It doesn't hang perfectly even since gathering with elastics is much less predictable than gathering with thread. It's more to my liking though. (The pink layer is just my newest petticoat).

Also, it's getting super cold outside. As you can see, this means I'm way less willing to stand around in the yard and take photos.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

This is Halloween

This is the song stuck in my head right now:

This is a skirt that I made a couple years ago, but I pretty much only get to wear it during Halloween time, so here it is! The fabric is an amazing print that was available at Jo-Ann's and I should have gotten a ton of. It was out of my budget though, so I only got enough for one little skirt. It is quite the usual skirt - gathered rectangles with a double elastic waist.

It's a simple project, but one of the reasons I decided to share was because I did some matching makeup and wanted to sneak that onto the blog. shhhh.

I got the idea for this from some ladies over on

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I like cupcakes. It's not obvious at all.

I made this a couple months ago, but we all know how good I am at posting things in a timely manner (I'm getting better...)

Apparently, I was making a cupcake skirt while watching a tv show about cupcakes... I didn't even notice until my boyfriend came in and pointed it out. Alright, so maybe I like cupcakes.

This skirt is two layers with lace on the hems. It has my usual two-rows-of-elastic waistband, and is super full. The bottom layer is like 140 inches around.

 The back isn't significantly interesting (it looks the same as the front) but hey, have a close-up!

Here you can see how the bottom layer attaches.

I had originally bought this fabric intending to make a dress. It didn't happen for a couple years though, so I decided it just wasn't going to happen, and made the default, a skirt. I would probably like a cupcake dress better, but I just wasn't willing to deal with making a bodice. I still can't do it efficiently, without redoing things a dozen times. Patterns just don't fit me at all, and I don't have a perfect self drafted pattern either. Even though I have patterns I've adjusted and made garments from, none of them are quite right yet. Good enough for people not to notice, but not good enough to use repeatedly as perfectly fitting patterns.

I recently acquired a crate full of sewing patterns

Okay, I know I don't need more patterns because I've never used many of the ones I have, but someone was throwing these away! 80 different clothing patterns (and 3 for crafts), many from before 1970! I also know most of these aren't my size... and I rarely use patterns anyways... but... did I mention there's a bunch of patterns here from before 1970? Just looking at the envelopes is awesome. I mean, check out this lady:

Or these sassy girls hanging out in their nightgowns:

So good! I want to write little stories about the cover images on a lot of these patterns. Maybe I should. It could be fun? I don't particularly have time to do such a thing, but perhaps.

Here's the full album for anyone interested.

Most of the patterns are in very large sizes (such as pattern size 18 or 20... four to six sizes too big for me), but there is enough here in my size to create a little excitement.

A couple more of my favorites:

Check out that skirt in the top row with the gathered butt, and the red dress flasher below it! She's so excited to show you her under-dress.

That is one intense collar happening on the bottom left. This lady could be in a matrix movie. Maybe in some white outerwear cult with the lady on bottom right.

Oh yes, of course, the classic Polynesian style. I also quite like that yellow crop top on the bottom. It's pretty simple, but what a cute outfit.

This housecoat bottom left, how luxurious! It looks so heavy! I wish it was my size because I would wear the hell out of that thing, especially in that floral pattern. Also the top right, totally a mullet dress (an awesome one at that). Business in the front, party in the back with that gathering.

This isn't the best photo, but if you look closely you'll notice an interesting detail on the dress second from left, top row. There's a tie pulling the front of the dress towards the back. I didn't even notice until I was looking at the photos. So simple, but a nice touch.

This is the last one I'll include in the post, but there's a couple more in the album. These patterns stood out from the group for being the only ones pre-1900s (though they are modern reproductions).

I should really break into some of these and sew, but eh... following a pattern is always so tedious! Maybe I'll just make up those stories about them instead...

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Digimon anyone?

Digimon was one of those shows I watched every week when I was younger (along with Pokemon, Sailor Moon, Yugioh...) I don't really remember much about it, but I know I'm not alone. So, when I saw these curtains at a thrift store, I thought, "Hey, that would make a pretty nice skirt." Everyone needs some childhood nostalgia in their wardrobe!

I will be putting this skirt up for sale in my shop once I take some measurements.

It's a pretty straightforward gathered skirt with two rows of elastic in the waistband. The fabric is a bit sheer, which is kind of annoying, but it's also slightly stiff, so the skirt doesn't need any support to make it poof.

I made a matching bow, which was some sort of strange thing because normally I am very good at not making bows unless I absolutely have to.