Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Rhyl's "New" Orange Dress

(BTW, my daughter's name is pronounced "Rill", like Bill, Phil, or Jill, not "Ryle". It came from our Australian friends. It is also a town in Wales.)

While packing up our clothes to move to our new house, my husband Nick and I had the normal three boxes: winter clothes and things we can't wear at the moment but want to keep, clothes we're packing up to put directly into the closet when we get to the house, and the goodwill box. I'm all for purging and making a new beginning with our new place, but when he put this organge button-down shirt into the box, my eyes must have really sparkled! I thought about it for a few days, then ran up this little number for Rhyl on my sewing machine.
I didn't have a pattern, but I eyeballed a top that fits her pretty well and made it about the same size. Then I embroidered a butterfly (I got the idea for the outline of the butterfly off our toilet paper--lol) in red, orange, and yellow floss on the front to make it a little more feminine. Three buttons close the back, which came off the shirt.

For not having a pattern, this dress was incredibly easy. I made the top like any basic dress or shirt top (made out of the top and sleeves of Nick's shirt--had to have two layers b/c it's lined). Then I took the hem off the bottom of the shirt for the waistband. I gathered and attached a rectangle of fabric (the bottom half of the front and back of the shirt) for the skirt to the waistband and then stitched that to the top. It's loose enough to give her some room to move in, but doesn't look sloppy. She needed some more every-day clothes to run around in and get dirty, and this is perfect b/c it's an old shirt, and free! And a little sentimental b/c it's one of Daddy's old favorites. I'm happy with it!

Cost: Free! or one old shirt

Monday, June 9, 2008

Brown and Khaki Tote

I just can't get enough of this khaki canvas material! It makes the perfect bag! But now I don't have much left. And I like this retro material, too, which is literally decades old and in perfect shape. True vintage! I love it!
The material was free and I didn't embellish the bag or put any closures on it, so the cost of the whole thing cost just a couple of yards of thread! (Btw, I get spools of 1000 yds/$1 usually, which is why I don't include the cost of thread. If you want to factor it in, just add a couple of cents to the total.) If the material weren't free, it would have cost about a yard of material total, maybe a little less. I forgot to take a picture of the inside, but it's lined with the brown material (same as the handles) and has one khaki inside pocket. It's just a regular tote, but I've been meaning to make one to take to the grocery store. I think the handles will make it stronger, too. They certainly won't be coming off any time soon!

Brown "Smocked" Top

Hmm, I'm really not sure what to call it. Before I found out that with the use of elastic thread I could do real smocking on my sewing machine, I experimented with this method. I took 1/4" elastic, stretched it along the fabric, and stitched rows to it. It turned out okay. But then, yesterday in WM, I discovered the better way to do it, and that I should be able to do it with my sewing machine, and I'm really excited but a little disappointed with the waste of fabric. Well, it's wearable, so I guess it's not a total "waste"!

I have 4 or 5 yards of this fabric. My mom found it in a box of my grandmother's old stuff. I'm excited to have it--it's very retro! I want to make a dress out of it, which is what this was supposed to be but it wasn't full enough around my hips, so it got shortened into a shirt. It has wide straps that are gathered in the front. The cost of the elastic is $1.18/8 yds, and I used about 3 1/3 yds, so about $.53 in elastic was my cost.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Simple Paisley Skirt

This is perhaps the quickest, easiest, and most cost-effective sewing project imaginable for a woman. This is two trapezoids of fabric stitched together at the sides, hemmed at the bottom, with an elastic waistband. A drawstring waist would work really well, too, and be just as easy. Just make it according to your waist and hip measurements and however long you want it. And really, if you are patient with your stitches and don't make them too long, you don't even need a sewing machine. The trapezoid shape makes the hem come to two corners. If you wanted a regular hemline, make it a smiley face! There are endless possibilities for the hem...

I adore this fabric. I found it on clearance a few years ago at WM for $1/yd, and this was one of my first sewing projects ever! I've been wearing this skirt since I had the baby, which was almost a year ago. It took most of the yard--we'll call it 2/3. And 1/8" elastic is $1.18/8 yards, and I used about 2/3 yd, so...

Material $.67
Elastic $.11
Total approximately $.78

Blue Silky Dress

For this dress, I used the same pattern as for the blue and white paisley dress. I got the fabric, which is a very lightweight silky synthetic, from the SA for $1/2yds. I trimmed it with some really cheap lace and implemented a purple sash around the waist which I made from some leftover WM clearance stuff. (It's not enough to count for anything, but we'll pretend it is in the cost tally.) I don't typically like emphasis on the natural waist line for myself, but this turned out pretty good. The only problem is that the fabric is thin, so I'm going to have to make a slip to wear under it. The top is lined, so no peeking there! :)

Material $1

Lace $.10

Sash $.25


Total $1.35

Large Khaki Hobo Bag

I really like the small one I made, but it's purse-sized and let's face it: I have an 11 m/o. I carry around diapers, wipes, extra clothes, toys, and snacks, and all the baby's stuff, too! :D But seriously, I needed more room, so I made a large one. And it is LARGE! (Look! It's bigger than the baby!! lol)

I used a heavy khaki material for the outside and a very bright flowery watercolor-ish print for the lining. I put two khaki pockets on the inside, and rather than finish all the edges, I used an overcasting stitch close to the edge so that it'll fray just a bit, which I thought would give it a summery, hobo-ish look (the tops of the pockets are the selvage and won't fray).
The outside is pretty plain, so I dressed it up a little with a dangling bead string. I had a few big glass beads of the same color scheme, and I threaded them on a hemp line and tied it to the handle. Then I strung some tiny pink beads and wrapped them around the hemp for a little more color. I still think it's pretty plain, and I'm considering cutting out a flower from the leftover lining fabric and stitching it to the outside corner, like a patch. I think that would finish it nicely.

I have not put a clasp on it yet. It's been perfectly functional without one and the mouth of the bag is so big that if it turned over, a zipper would be the only thing that would keep everything from falling out, and I don't plan to install a zipper. I might put a tie of some sort on it, but I might just leave it as it is.
All the material for this bag was given to me free of charge, as were the beads and hemp cord. It took a little less than a yard of fabric to make, combined. It was free for me to make b/c I used what I had, but if I had to buy it all, I wouldn't have spent more than $3-4 on all the materials, and that's a high estimate, for how I shop.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Yellow Gingham Swimsuit Cover

In further preparation for our upcoming camping trip, I put together a swimsuit cover today. It could also be worn as a skirt, but would need a slip underneath b/c it's very thin. This is clearance $1/yd fabric at WM, and I used about half the yard. Also used roughly a yard of my cheap lace to trim it.

It was exactly as easy at it looks. A couple of hems, a drawstring that I made from the same fabric, and some lace around the bottom. The "hardest" part was gathering the bottom part to fit the ungathered top part, but that's not so hard as it is just a pain in the butt.

It's a nice addition to my camping wardrobe, something to lounge around in between dips in the lake and to keep the booty covered while I chase around the baby. And if it gets messed up, hey, it cost only about $.65!

Yellow Swimsuit Bottoms

These aren't necessarily meant to partner the black top (I made matching black bottoms for that). My family has a big camping trip coming up and I'm predicting that I'll be in a swimsuit most of the day for about 4 days. I'm a big fan of clean bottoms so I'm taking more than one!

This was the remainder of a $.25 SA pillow case (remember the yellow inset of the blue plaid top?). I cut out two pieces of the fabric so that I'd have double-thickness (it was a tiny bit thinner than I'd like). Then I used the leftover scraps to braid a belt to go around the waist to hide the edge of the suit (part of the waist was the hem of the pillowcase that I couldn't easily take apart). That also meant that I didn't have to finish the edge of the waist, saving me time and thread on that. I hate to waist anything, and these bottoms used almost exactly the whole amount of fabric I had. I stiched the braid to the waist, and there it is!
Cost: $.25

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Hobo Bag

I used some of the free fabric that my husband's grandmother gave me to make this little purse. It's striped canvas, and I didn't use a pattern, just freehanded it. I cut out squares of fabric for the body and a long rectangle for the handle. It has yellow lining (also Grandma's free fabric) and two inside pockets made out of the striped fabric. The button closure was the extra button that came with a pair of pants, and I haven't decided yet if I'm going to add any other embellishments. It's all earthy tones, and I have some vintage-looking brown beads, but I'm going to wait to be inspired and see what happens. This all took about an hour to make, and maybe a yard of fabric in total, lining and all.

Cost: Free! If I had had to buy the fabric and button, I still wouldn't have spent more than $1.50 on supplies. This is exciting to me, as I don't have a good history with making purses (this is only my second attempt, the first didn't go so well) but I HATE paying for them. Even WM prices for purses make me cringe. I know. I'm cheap. But that's who I am...

Also, I don't buy trendy things, so it's great that I have a cute trendy piece for the price of a few yards of thread.