Archive for the ‘Projects’ category

Scalloped Hem Dress

November 8th, 2011

I had this dress hanging in my closet, and I loved the print on the fabric, but the something about the length just bothered me.  It fell to a place somewhere between the knee and ankle that just felt awkward to me. Hemming up a dress to make it a little shorter is not a difficult task so I decided to make it a little more interesting by following the bottom edges of the print to make it a scalloped hem.

Luckily, the print could be seen clearly on the inside of the dress (the wrong side of the fabric). All that needed to be done was to fold up the bottom edge towards the right side, and stitch along the scalloped edge from the wrong side. (the edge to the right is the fold, and the original hem is folded underneath)

You can see the original hem at the top left here.  Next I clipped the fabric from the fold up to the point between each scallop all the way around the skirt. I cut as close to the stitching line as I could without cutting the thread.

I used my pinking shears to cut around each scallop instead of clipping hundreds of tiny notches individually.  Trimming it this way is very important though, because a curved seam will not sit properly unless it has been clipped. (You can read more about clipping seam allowances here)

The last steps were to turn the scallops out the right way, press the seams, and finally stitch the hem. I simply trimmed off the original hem fabric close to the scallops and did a simple machine blind hem stitch.

In the end I’m much happier with the length, and I think the scalloped edge just adds a fun touch that works with the spirit of the dress.

Grey Knit Dress

August 5th, 2011

I sewed up this little light weight knit dress last night, and I’m really happy with it! (observant eyes  may notice it’s the same fabric I used for the top in my last post)

It has a fun, flowy skirt with an interesting uneven hem.

I was working without a pattern and freehanded some shapes to see how it would look in a skirt.  The back is made of three pieces shaped like in the image above.

The front is a modified half circle skirt shape with the edges cut to match the pieces along the back.  If I had had more of the fabric I would have liked to continue the pieces from the back of the skirt across the front. In the end, though, I’m happy with it because I think the simplicity of the front of the skirt balances well with the tied front detail.

Oh yeah, and I’m currently blonde :)

 

Super Easy Summer Shirt

July 11th, 2011

Yesterday I whipped up this simple top after seeing people wearing similar ones around town.  I thought they looked comfortable and the design is so simple I thought it would be a great project for summer sewing.  I know I’m not the only one who gets busy and begins to neglect their sewing space when the weather gets nice!

click image for full size

click image for full size

It ended up being just a twenty minute project, and it’s as easy to wear as it was to make.  There is no need for a pattern as it was as simple as three pieces, and since I used a knit that’s pretty stable and not prone to unraveling I just left the neckline and sleeve holes unfinished.

click image for full size

To add a little something special to this simple top I put a couple of grommets onto the back and strung some chain I had between them.  (note that I said grommets, not eyelets.  Grommets have two pieces that fit together while eyelets are the just one piece.  It makes a big difference in how well they will stay in place and not get ripped out.  Also, when setting grommets into stretchy knits you want to remember to use a smaller hole than you would with a solid woven fabric)

 

How to after the break: » Read more: Super Easy Summer Shirt

The Finished Lace Skirt

June 20th, 2011

I just wanted to add an update post on the Lace skirt I was working on last time.  It came out exactly as I had hoped.  I finished the top with a stretch knit waistband for comfort and added a bow made from the same material as the lining fabric.  It came together really quick and evenly with the lace evenly basted to the lining fabric.

It’s very girly and fun, and with the full circle skirt/lots of gathered lace combo it is too hard to resist twirling!

Gathered Lace Skirt

June 10th, 2011

Gathering by hand, to me, is one of those tedious tasks that I usually can’t stand.  Today though, I’m taking the time and gathering this lace onto the lining fabric of this skirt I’m working on.  The underskirt is a basic circle skirt.

I don’t know if this is a “real” technique or not, (I know there are easier ways, but I like doing it this way when I’m feeling like a perfectionist)  I use two needles and two lengths of thread to gather and secure the fabric.  First I pin off the sections evenly distributing the length of the gathered material in relation to the base.  Then little section by little section I use one needle to gather, pull the thread tight, and secure with a couple knots at the end of the section.  I use the second needle and thread to whipstitch over the top, securing the gathered stitches to the base.

Now when I go to add the waistband I won’t have to worry about the gathering ending up uneven or bunched in areas.  With a different fabric I might not mind, but I think with this lace the unevenness would probably disappoint me later. The rest of the skirt should come together really quickly, so I can enjoy spending a little more time on this one detail.

The finished quilt!

May 30th, 2011

It is officially done! I even finished it on time , it just took me a few days waiting on the weather to be able to get decent pictures.

The front

and the back

It’s just as snuggly and comfy as I hoped it would be!

Me-Made-March Week 3

March 21st, 2011

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March 15th

I loved this outfit.  You can see I’m wearing my cropped sweatshirt/hoodie/shrug thing again.  The pale yellow with the white and black was just the contrast I needed to add a little punch to my day! I’ve worn the yellow and white top once or twice before, but I never put it with black before.

Me made: yellow and white faux wrap dress, white layered ruffles knit skirt, leggings, cropped swearshirt.

March 16th

The purple top here is a repeat from March 1st, but I wore the top with a different skirt, added a black lacy cami underneath and my cashmere shrug on top.  Also, I pulled out this wool coat I reconstructed (but actually haven’t finished) last fall.  It has sat in the back of the closet all winter since it’s just not warm enough for cold weather.  I had to resize the sleeves, I added the black wool to the shoulders and black, and I’m in the process of swapping out all the plastic buttons for self fabric covered buttons.  Since the purple in the coat nearly perfectly matched the purple in the top I thought it was a fun combination.

Me made:

skirt, purple tunic, cashmere shrug, reconned purple wool coat

March 17th

My new pants! I finally got these put together and sewed the snaps for the waistband in so I could wear them.  I made these without a pattern, just by drafting, copying a pair of rtw jeans, and fitting and pinning and trial and error! I’m super happy with how the fly came together, and I added some nice pockets to the knees just for a little something different.

Me made:

grey stripe slacks, green and grey knit longsleeve, knit vest

March 19th

I am so proud of this sweatshirt.  It took me 3 days of sewing in just about every spare moment I had, but it came out almost exactly as I pictured it in my head, so I am quite pleased. It’s entirely me, except for a little help for a starting point for the princess seams courtesy of a simplicity pattern. It’s made of a soft and cozy white sweatshirt fleece which makes it warm enough to wear out as a light jacket.  I’m wearing it with a purchased longsleeve tshirt (a shame, since I know I could have made my own) and me made white ruffled skirt (same one I wore on the 15th)

Me Made:

sweatshirt, skirt

Purchased:

black top, tights

March 20th

Pajama day! I wore my pajamas all day around the house, but I’ll be honest, I threw on purchased jeans and a hoodie with my me made ribbed tank that evening to go out to crafty night down the street.

Me made:

red ribbed racerback tank, flannel pajama bottoms

March 21st

Same outfit at March 10th, except with a different skirt.  This skirt is an awesome stretch wool fabric I bought at a PDX Sewing circle swap and sale. It’s a dark plaid with shades of purple and grey that seem to go really well with my green sweater.

Me made:

sweater recon, layered six panel wool skirt, leggings

 

Three weeks down and so far I feel pretty good about my Me made wardrobe! My goals for this week is to finish my blue knit dress that I’ve been talking about (I’ve started and fit the top portion, I just need to assemble, cut and make the skirt part, and insert a side zip).It’s also time to dig a little deeper into the closet and see if I have anything a little older or something I’ve forgotten to wear. I know I have a few pieces that haven’t gotten a chance to be featured in my me-made-march parade, so hopefully I can get them worn next week.  My one other goal is to whip up a couple more basic longsleeve tees so that I won’t feel tempted to resort to my store bought ones.  It’s a simple project, and I know I can knock one out in an hour, I just need to make myself do it. And finally, either today, or at least early this week I need to finish my tutorial on how I’m quilting and putting together the black and white quilt I’ve been working on at crafty meetups for over a year!

Me-Made-March: Week 1

March 7th, 2011

Wow, I’ve completed the first 7 days of the Me-Made-March challenge, and so far so good. I’ve made good on my promise to be here on Monday to post my photos, so let’s dig right in!

March 1st

For the first day of the challenge I chose to go with this outfit.  The Me made portions of the outfit consist of the purple knit racerback top (which is a deliciously soft knit, I love it!), the reconstructed pleated skirt, and the legwarmers.  The undershirt and the tights were purchased.  The skirt is the first item I’ve made this month, specifically to wear for MMM, and with this tank.  It used to be a pair of pants that I never wore because the previous owner did a little reconstructing of their own and attempted to make them very skinny pants.  I love the colors of the plaid though, and was perfect for this outfit with the subtle purple stripes throughout.

March 2nd

This outfit actually has four handmade items in it! The grey dress (which is actually a very very fine weave of black and white, but may as well be grey) is one that I’ve made from my first and only tried and true commercial pattern, Simplicity 3673. I love the shaping on the pattern, with six darts on the front and 6 more on the back to shape it into a very full skirt.  I added a lining for the skirt with a ruffle of tulle at the bottom for a little fluff there.  On top there are actually two layers of black, a reconstructed black shrug from a cozy cashmere sweater and a knit fleece cropped hoodie with an oversized hood.  I love these two basic black cropped pieces and they are honestly probably the handmade pieces I wear the most in my day to day.  They’re both warm and cozy, and when I wear them together I can skip the heavy overcoat even when it’s cold!  The fourth item is the purse, but you can’t really see it in the photo.  It’s a mashup of black velvet, white glitter vinyl and lace.

March 3rd

Kind of a blah outfit here, not too much to say.  The skirt is a kinda refashion, but more of an alteration.  I didn’t like or fit the original waistband and the side zipper was broken so the top was remade.  The longsleeve white top, black racerback tank, and leggings were all made from raw material.  I included a detail picture of the tank because I love the texture and opacity of the black top over the white one.

March 4th

Slacks! It was starting to look like a month of dresses and skirts around here!  These are some of the only slacks I have sewn (aside from leggings and pajamas).  I’ve already picked out some fabric to make some more slacks to get me through the month, as I’m starting to miss my jeans. These green slacks have great big wide legs, which I love.  They were my first experience with making front pockets with pocket yokes and sewing a zipper fly.  I was nervous starting out, but it turned out to be a lot easier than I thought! I made these months ago, and I’ve worn them many times since then.  The longsleeve shirt and the sleeveless overshirt were both made by me as well.  The top shirt was a reconstruction from a men’s polo shirt.  It’s a delightful plush velour that makes this outfit nice and cozy!

March 5th

This black and white ruffle skirt is one of my favorite handmade pieces.  it’s layers of linen, sequin linen, pinstripe suiting, and white cotton eyelet.  It has a fun swing and is great for dancing.The black top has an over-sized white lined hood, bell sleeves, and delightfully long ties.  I’m also wearing a longsleeve knit top I made in dark grey.  I love these tights (my purchased item in this outfit), and in the detail shot you can see my fun houndstooth nails! in my hair I have a matching houndstooth hair bow I made.

March 6th

For a lazy Sunday I chose this comfortable skirt and tank, all handmade by me.  The tank top is a warm and crazy soft sweater knit that I also made these extra long skinny scarves out of.  The skirt is two layers of of woven fabric cut into a square “circle” skirt with a thick drawstring waist.  The drawstring is actually three  very long strings drawn together.  The whole skirt has a rough feel with unhemmed serged edges.

March 7th

This top is another men’s polo shirt reconstruction.  I just really like the wide variety of colors, patterns, and weights and textures available for men’s polo shirts.  They also tend to be the easiest to reconstruct with because they’re just large squares primarily.  I combined the xlrg men’s polo with a woman’s heathered grey vneck t shirt.  The polo shirt’s short sleeves made up the bust portion, and the collar made the underbust band.  the very wide shirt gathered nicely for some detail on the sides of the front and the center of the back.  A little bow sits center back just above the gathers.  The skirt I’m wearing with it is a simple circle skirt of black eyelet cotton.  The leggings and socks were purchased, but I made the earrings myself!

 

Whew, week one is done.  Now to get going on more slacks!

Me-Made-March 2011

February 28th, 2011

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‘I, LauPre, of laupre.com/blog, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-March ’11. I endeavour to wear
as many hand made or refashioned clothing items and accessories as I can (at least two) each day for the duration of March 2011. I am excluding underthings, shoes, handbags and a couple of winter coats’

I always enjoy a good challenge! I’ve seen images other sewists have posted when participating in So,Zo…’s other challenges and thought it was a fun idea. you can read all about the Me Made March challenge at So, Zo… What do you know? here It’s not often that I leave the house without at least one hand made or reconstructed thing on me, but I’ve never really made a conscious effort to do it. The idea is for it to be a challenge for you, and I fear that keeping track of everything may be the biggest challenge facing me! I’m thinking I’ll just post a week at a time, Mondays perhaps?

I’m signing up for the challenge at the last minute, but I have already begun preparing. The first step was a good look at my wardrobe. It was time for a good clean out anyway, so I pulled out anything that I didn’t want and added a bunch of new items to my refashion supplies pile. I’ve got a few projects in mind to fill some holes in my wardrobe that don’t have handmade options (time to tackle jeans, maybe?) and maybe by the end of the month I can be in all handmade!

Here’s a good luck to the (many many) other participants in the challenge!

Mend It! Replacing A Broken Hoodie Zipper

October 28th, 2010

Once again I can’t bear to part with a hoodie that still has plenty of good miles left in it but has developed a fatal flaw. This time it’s a cozy oversized hoodie with a busted zipper. I start to zip from the bottom, but I get no zip!

Broken zipper

I think I feel a draft

Once again, it’s time to spend a few minutes and save this sweatshirt. I honestly don’t know what’s wrong with the zipper so the easiest solution for me is to replace it with a new one. I just happen to have one almost perfect in my stash. If you need to buy a zipper, be sure to measure the length of the original zipper as accurately as possible. I suggest taking the item with you so that you can match up the color and exact length before you begin.

matching zipper

New functioning zipper

This zipper is just about perfect. The right length, nearly a perfect match, and was dirt cheap. I bought it locally at Scrap, an excellent resource in Portland, OR for Reuse and Recycling. The other important thing is that it is a separating zipper so the two halves of the zipper separate when the zipper slider is pulled all the way down.

3 zippers

Here are three similar zippers. They are all the same size, all have plastic teeth, the only difference is color and how they end. The first on the left (blue) has a closed bottom. The two sides are connected at the bottom preventing the slider from coming off at the end but it won’t come apart. The middle zipper (green) is a separating zipper. It is perfect for jackets or sweatshirts/hoodies that are expected to open all the way. The one all the way on the right (black) is a double separating zipper. It can come apart like a separating zipper, but it has the added feature of a second slider allowing you to zip it up, then unzip it from the bottom, leaving the top zipped if you want to.

three zippers

Now, back to my project! Looking at the inside of the sweatshirt you can see that this zipper is simply attached with just a single line of stitches.

I could easily pick out the stitches and remove the zipper first. I like to leave the old zipper in place when I add my new zipper for two reasons. First, I like to have the old zipper tape to act as a support layer to keep the sweatshirt material from stretching as I sew, causing wavy zipper syndrome. Secondly, I like to have the original zipper teeth to line the new zipper teeth against as a guide to make sure my zipper is set straight (and make it easier to not use pins. Use them if you prefer.)

Place the zipper, and sew it in place.

I started at the bottom and sewed up towards the hood. Then I stopped an inch or two from the top and hand stitched the rest in place, folding the extra zipper tape from the top between the zipper and the sweatshirt fleece to hide it.

Now I have the option of trimming away the original zipper, if it wasn’t removed before sewing on the new zipper. In my experience it works just fine to trim away the old zipper, cutting as close to the line of stitching for the new zipper as possible. anything leftover is hidden just fine by the new zipper and the edge of the sweatshirt on top. I chose to leave the original zipper in place for this, though. I just like the look of the “double zipper” and the shiny brass of the original.

This is a quick and easy repair that anyone can do. It took me under 30 minutes, including hunting for the zipper! ;)