Saturday, January 30, 2010

Signs of Things to Come

I just finished the messenger bag I've been "working" on since Christmas! That is to say, it's been largely ignored for about a month. Poor thing. And it's such a great bag! It didn't deserve that. I just love it. And as soon as it's completely dried from where I scrubbed the chalk marks off of the inside--and as soon as I get back from church and have sufficient light to take some great pics of it--I'm going to add it to my Etsy shop and post a few pics here. So, probably tomorrow. It's just so pretty! I can't wait to show it to you! It's one of those projects that, even tho you made with full intentions of not keeping it, it'll be hard to part with.

Here are the adorable flower pins that I made to go with it. They are going to look so, SO great on the bag, but I put real pin backs on them so you can put them on your shirt, jacket, the bag... you know, wherever. The bag is red, black, and gray plaid, so these will feminize it just a touch. Lovely!

Also, this great dress. When I say great, I mean great color, great applique work, great faux-suede fabric. Great opportunity!! There's a funny story about this dress that I'll have to tell you later. When I'm not late for church. :)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Things I'm Loving Right Now

Warning: I don't know why I'm posting this. It's not at all important. Just clothing I'm thinking about.
Feel free to ignore me starting... now!
I love looking thru catalogs at clothing for inspiration. I almost never buy anything.
And the only catalogs I get right now are Frederick's of Hollywood, Victoria Secret, and Body Central (some random company I'd never heard of;
I think they might be Frederick's affiliated).
Here are my Frederick's picks (who knew they had clothing, right???):

This is just super sexy. WHY and to WHERE would I wear this??

I love this one. I'd buy this. You know, if I couldn't make it. ;)

Another very cute, should-be-easy-to-make top.

Jury's still out on batwing tops over at my house. My plan is to try one on before I make one. Don't want to waste the effort on something I'll hate.

This would be a flattering top for lots of body types, and not slutty!
This design makes me want to hit the sewing room, hard.
This dress is gorgeous, and the ruching up the rear should make it somewhat forgiving. However, I think this one is just a notch above my current freehand comfort level.
Just a notch. :D

This blue top is adorable, but my girls require more support than this would allow.
Perhaps, instead of open rings, something less... see-thru?

I LOVE this!! I really am thinking of making this. It's not too trashy to wear out!
It's a satin halter tied over a lace tank top. That cannot be terribly difficult, right??
(You hear me knocking on wood, right?)

NOT an Etsy Shop Update

An online buddy sends me care packages with fabric and patches and lots of great stuff, and I send her handmade goodnesses in return. So far, it's taken me a seriously LONG time to fulfill her requests, but she's very good at standing by me while I stew over her projects.

ConnieJ6, I PROMISE your Coca-Cola bag is coming, just as soon as I get in idea for it!!
Sometimes you just can't force these things. :)
This piece of tapestry has been sitting in my sewing room (buried for most of its stay, actually) with her name on it for a VERY long time, and it's finally a purse! It's pretty simple and a little crooked in places, but it's still lovely.

Magnetic clasp closure (sorry CJ, it was too late for a zipper by the time I thought I might add one), 11.5 inches from mouth to bottom, with two 17 inch handles. Cream colored satin lining.

Now, this is just getting ridiculous!

Can I get any more stylish??? :D I finally cut into that stripy fabric, and suddenly I have a complete outfit! Introducing, my ruffled skirt! (Or, layered skirt? Not sure here.)
Because my stripey shirt is perhaps a little too tight around the middle, I don't want to wear it with jeans because it shows off every squeezed inch everywhere. So I whipped up a skirt that I was *hoping* would turn out, because (as usual) I eyeballed my way thru the process. And I love it! It's a tiny bit big around the waist, tho. When I try to wear it with the belt at the natural waistline, it sags a bit too much. I might insert a small piece of elastic somewhere, if I think about it while I'm in my sewing room.
With my skirt. At the same time. Nah, it'll probably never happen. :)
Anyway, here's my new outfit! The fabric for the skirt--black and gray (the skirt under the ruffles) stretchy knits--has been in my stash forever. Can't remember how much they cost, but I'd say probably $1/yd. No more than $1.50. I probably used about 1/2 yd of each--well, less, but we'll say about a yard of material, altogether. So, let me whip out my calculator...
Cost: about $1 or less, and around 2 hrs total.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

My New Y Shirt!

I have been looking forward to cutting into this fabric for a long time now. It's a thick,
stretchy knit with shiny silver and black stripes. I LOVE it! And it was only $1.50/yd.
I call these Y shirts because they're less T shaped and more Y shaped. The sleeves are built in. There might not be an easier project on the face of the earth than a stretchy Y shirt.
And how:

The catalyst for my most recent surge of creative energy involving this stripey
fabric was, of course, yesterday's Anthropologie site visit.
I've been mentally cataloging images of stripey tops,
and this one just pushed me over the edge.
Theirs is $68, by the way. **stomach roll** Mine: $1.50 and about 2 hours.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Contemplating Refashion

As I'm looking around for ways to breathe new life into old clothing, it dawns on me:
why am I not looking more at the designers whose clothing I'd love to wear,
and who inspire other sewists? One quick look at
will stop the heart for a few reasons, including...
PRICES--YOUCH!!! I don't even dream of shopping sale items from these people!
In fact, I didn't even see a sale section until I typed "sale" into their search box.
But my, oh my, just look at the eye candy that is their clothing! The outfits that they
put together are wonderful and I LOVE them, but I think what really draws me to their designs is the simplicity. Looking at so many of their tops, I found myself thinking, I could make that!
(It's usually not as simple as it looks, but I have that thought a lot anyway.)
I'm not altogether sure that my dad isn't a hoarder of clothing, becuase he literally
has enough for years--and from years... and years and years.
He retired from the Navy in 1985 and still has many of his uniform clothing pieces.
And I don't mean the nice stuff. I mean the undershirts and such.
Anyway, Mom gave me a whole bunch of his button-down collared shirts, and
I'm just itching for a chance to cut into them. I'm waiting for an idea that I feel like I somewhat know what I'm doing, tho. I like the shrink-down that I did with that other shirt jacket,
so I think I'm going to try it with a shirt. And I like pintucks, which I might also try on one when I shrink it down. I also love making little girls' dresses out of bigger shirts, and I think I'll try that, too, as soon as I get a little time.
Right now, however, I've been hard at work for Common Grounds, which is a church-sponsored after school program for the kids in our community. My husband and I have been building a stage around the platform where they play the Rock Band video game. Pictures to come soon.
Anyway, I guess the reason for this post is... I feel like I've abandoned you! lol And, on top of just wanting to say "hi" and muse about what I'm thinking about getting up to, I'd be just tickled pink if anybody had any ideas or projects that they wanted to share. I find inspiration everywhere, and I'm quite certain that some pretty talented people drop by here from time to time, and I'd just LOVE to hear from you!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Oh, I'm in real Trouble now...

I'm still off dairy (and it's still helping my skin!) and have really been missing brownies. I used to make them two, maybe three times a week. For some reason--probably because I've been preoccupied with figuring out other non-dairy recipes and techniques--I just now realized that our favorite brownie recipe perfectly converts to non-dairy!

Oh, boy, am I in trouble! I think I ate half the plate by myself within an hour of pulling them from the oven. Ugh. I feel a weight gain coming on...

Here's the evolved recipe, converted from Good Housekeeping's

Cocoa Brownies

1. Combine 1/2 c all-purpose flour, 1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/4 tsp baking powder, and 1/4 tsp salt in a bowl. Sift it, stir it with a whisk--however you prefer to swish it all together. Just remember that cocoa powder's active state is AIRBORNE!
2. Combine 6 T oil (I used olive, I'm sure many others would work), 1 c white granulated sugar, 2 large eggs, and 2 tsp vanilla extract. Stir them all together well, and then add the flour/cocoa mixture. Again, be careful! It will fly. Everywhere.
4. When that's all mixed together, you've got a couple of options. Either stir in nuts, cherries, dried fruit, non-dairy chocolate chips, etc if you want them, then spread it in the greased pan (or pie plate), OR spread it in the pan and then sprinkle your flare on top. *
5. If you want, after it's all in the pan, drizzle a non-dairy (ex: Hershey's) chocolate syrup over the top of the batter. Wherever you put the syrup, your baked brownie will be fudgy. (You can make designs with this part. How fun! )
6. Bake 18-20 minutes at 350F oven, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out almost clean (be careful--the syrup makes it look completely raw in places). Cool brownies completely in pan for 2 hrs. Or until you just can't stand to look at them any more and can't help but dig in. Just be careful not to burn yourself.

*I inserted maraschino cherries here and there,
and had a sort of cordial cherry brownie going on. It was fabulous!

MY "new" shirt jacket

Here's how this all officially started:
I bought my husband a shirt jacket for Christmas. My brother-in-law saw it and sent me to the store for another one.
His dad saw his, and sent me for another one. His wife saw his, and here we go again.
I started to feel left out, but they don't come in a women's small (at least, not the ones I've been getting)
and I wouldn't spend the $$ on that for myself even if they did.
Our old neighbor (that is, former neighbor) sent two shirt jackets home with my husband for me to do with as I pleased. They were his father's, who was finished with them. Men's XL Tall.
I took this old man's (this is, aged man's) worn out jacket and turned it into one for me!
I still can't remember to take before or during pics most of the time,
so here's what it started out as: (different print and closure, but otherwise the same item)
And here's what it is now!
First: I cut off the cuffs, and cut the sleeves off at the shoulders
and shrank them down to fit my arms.
Second: I slashed the body open at the side seams, pinched it to fit my body,
and sewed it accordingly.
Then: I sewed the cuffs back on the sleeves, the sleeves back on the shirt, and pinched and stitched two darts on the front. (Somewhere before this move, I removed the pockets.)
Then I [ahem, crookedly] hemmed the bottom edge.
Finally: I folded one of the pockets into a rectangle, topstitched around the edges, put a buttonhole on each end, stitched two brown plastic vintage buttons from my stash into the middle of the back, and put on the little cincher (what is this called???).
The darts and cincher are optional, but make it more fitted and feminine.
I didn't actually plan for this one to turn out wearable.
I really believed I'd mess the first one up, so this was done as practice before I cut into the other jacket, which is the one I wanted to make wearable because the fabric is in better shape.
I'm afraid that, because I have a wearable one, it might be next winter before I get around to cutting into the other one. :( At least I'll be warm in the meantime.
TOTAL COST: about an hour, maybe a little less.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Fun and Frugal

My latest cheapo project?
Reusable snack bags made from fabric and Mylar food bag lining.
That's right--the bag your potato chips came in could make 3 snack bags!
I'm thinking that this may be a good refashioning project for my
Church Lady Group presentation coming up.
(Sorry--I cannot remember the group's name! More on that later...)

I'm sending these to a very lovely online friend
(who likes to stock my sewing room with all sorts of adorable notions that she comes across)
to try out. I haven't made many of these, and I'd like to test out their longevity
before I start handing them out. Don't want people to think I make junk.
These aren't terribly pretty, but that's not the point of a prototype, is it?? :)

Some Refashioning

My favorite project today: my black and white striped dress!

I was really excited when my sister gave it to me
because I've been looking for something to go with my new black tights.
But when I tried it on, it was a too baggy, too frumpy, a little outdated,
and just all-over too plain.

Now that it's done and I like it so much, I REALLY wish I'd gotten a better before picture.
I cut the collar off, cut a few inches off the hem,
and used the cut-off material to make interfacing for the collar
so that it wasn't a raw edge or a turned hem.
I'm one pair of black boots away from a smokin' hott outfit!