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.