Friday, May 30, 2008

Homemade Swimsuit Top

Since I got pregnant, have been nursing for almost a year, and lost 20 lbs (not counting the baby weight), my boobs just aren't what and where they used to be! But, perky or not, it is that time of year again--swimsuit season! (Here's where I give a shreek that would wake the dead!) I searched high and low for a top that would put the girls back where they should be, but nothing would work. I have spent hours pouring over Victoria Secret catalogs and quite a while in WM trying on every different style imaginable with no success. So I went with my first instinct--I'll make one!

I had a bra that I never wear anymore b/c the nipples started poking out, and to alter it would make it ugly. So it's been in my drawer for a few years, waiting for... I don't know... a miracle, I guess. But since I was going to put a new face on it, it didn't matter how ugly or rough the cups would be. So I nixed the cone look by redoing the darts and cut out two pieces of fabric. The first was shaped to cover the sides and in between the cups. I stitched it onto the bra around the cups and sides. The second piece was a rectangle, which I gathered in the middle and on the sides. I pulled the middle gather tight, and the end gathers to fit the sides of the bra. I stictched it all together, and here it is! My very own, super cheap, push-up swim suit top! (Not a great pic, I know, but I wasn't going to make you suffer thru a picture of my modeling it!)

The other thing I think I'm going to do to it is make it into a convertible tankini by making the bottom part of a tank top and adding hooks to it, and thread loops to the inside of the top to attach it. This way, I can be covered on my fat days and bikini-clad on my confident days (the days when the pool is empty!).

I don't know what to put the cost of the bra at--I think it was about $12 new, but that was a long time ago. The material was WM clearance $1/yd, and I used less than 1/4 yd. But let's call it $.25. And that's it!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Purple Bedsheet Outfit

My husband's grandmother recently gave me a bunch of fabric, and this nice, high thread-count lavendar bedsheet was in with it all. After dreaming about what I could do with all that free fabric, I finally settled on an experimental top (this was before I got a pattern for tops). I used a dress pattern that my mom had given me for the bodice, and I used my cheap lace to trim it up and make it extra dainty and flirty.
The top is my favorite. The skirt was an afterthought. Because I only had one zipper on hand and it was earmarked for a dress I made later, I decided to close the back with buttons. (This was the first time I've ever made buttonholes--another reason this was a satisfying project!) But I only had four buttons--free, given to me by my sister who had them left over from a dress she had me mend. I left the rest of the back open, and stitched a sash across the front to tie in the back. The ties hang down over the open part, so it isn't too noticeable, which I think makes it even flirtier! :) The skirt is a long piece of fabric that's been taken in (I don't know what they're called! like darts, but on the hips to form the waist) on each side. It's a simple wrap with a snap closure and lace trim.
So basically, everything but about 25 cents of lace for this outfit was free! But let's recap the costs as if it weren't...

Fabric at the SA would have been about $1.00
Buttons were 6 for $.67 (used 4)
Lace ~$.25
Total ~$1.92
But better than the fact that this outfit was basically free is that I freehanded most of it, and it turned out wearable!!! Because I'm so new to sewing, and still figuring a lot of things out, this was a really amazing feeling!

Blue Plaid Pillowcase Top

I am so proud of this one! I did go ahead and get a pattern, which cost $2.44, but I plan to use it again and again this summer and in the future (it's also got a sleeved option for winter shirts!). I got two pillocases from the SA, 25 cents each, and used my cheap cheap lace, of which I have yards and yards, for the trim. I only used a small piece of the yellow case, leaving plenty for another top or something, but let's go ahead and assume the whole cost in the break-down Are you ready for this??

Fabric $.50
Lace about $.10
That's right= less than 60 cents for this top! Not including the pattern, of course, but even if you do, could you have found it for $3?? I'm excited!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Another Bonnet

This time for a boy or a girl! The prototype, of course, is pretty girly, and my experimental fabric of choice continues to be purple gingham. I also added a little lace for trim. This is simply a square of fabric about 16" x 16", folded and stitched to make a box-ey hat. (The folds are simple, but kind of hard to explain.) I haven't, but I think I'm going to run a ribbon drawstring thru the back, both to tie it and to act as a gather so it contours to the baby's neck. Another option would be to put a dart in the middle of the back, and attach the strings to the corners. This would be a good winter bonnet, where the focus is more on warmth than on sun protection. (Of course, that's still important and many types of visors could be rigged up to the front if you wish.) For winter, a fleece or flannel would be perfect, and changing the color scheme and trim would make it good for a boy. Great gift for that "tbd" baby! :)


Fabric < $.15

Lace < $.10

Sunday, May 4, 2008

My Lovely Simplicity Dress!

I shop for stretch knits wherever and whenever I can, b/c they're very hard to find at a decent price. [Side note: why is there a wealth of tacky bright pink John Deere for girls linen at WM, but no lightweight, simple, cheap jersey t-shirt fabric??? anyway...] So when I was in a neighboring WM a few months ago I hit the clearance rack, which is usually where stretch knits are, and jackpot!! I got three or four different ones for $1/yd! So, I walked out with $12 in fabric, which would have been way too much for me had I not also walked out with 12 yds of stretch knit!

One of these fabrics stole my heart, right there in the WM aisle! :) It's blue and white paisley, and I had so many ideas for it. I finally broke down and bought a pattern I'd been eyeing for about a year and a half for a very pretty dress that I was convinced would flatter my figure. There's not really much more to say about this dress, other than, "Voila!"

Oh, one more thing: instead of buying a hook and eye, I took the hook off of a bra and stitched a loop of thread for the eye.

Fabric <$2.00
Zipper ~$1.50
Pattern ~$3.00
Total: about $5.50
Also, I recently picked up a couple of yds from the Salvation Army (2/$1!) and am planning to use this pattern again. Also planning to use pieces of it for summer tops. This is one of, if not THE, best sewing deal on my own clothes that I've ever made!