Archive for the ‘Sewing stuff’ 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.

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! ;)

Big Flower Pin Cushion

June 2nd, 2010

I decided to make a new large pin cushion for my sewing desk. I needed one that was big and heavy, one that I couldn’t lose or knock over accidentally.

I don’t know if I’m the only one who tends to lose things in the midst of a project, but I’d guess I’m not the only one with backups.   I’ve got a selection of scissors, multiple packages of needles, a spare pair of reading glasses, and a collection of pin cushions scattered about. (If however, you’re the kind of person with perfect organization who always know exactly where every supply is just play along for my benefit.)  Besides that, A quick and easy pin cushion project is just the thing for a blah rainy afternoon.

This is the cushion I created.  It’s a basic rectangle shape with a big flower on top.  I made it to fit inside this low, wide planter making it nearly impossible to lose!

After the jump I’ll share my technique for making the cushion and give a tutorial to make the petals for the flower.

» Read more: Big Flower Pin Cushion

Working on My Black and White Quilt

January 27th, 2010

I took a moment this morning to snap a couple of photos of my black and white quilt. The sun is actually shining today and the quilt was just begging for my attention!

The quilt is officially half way done now.  It measures 70″ by 45″, once it’s done it will be a 70″x90″. There are 54 hand quilted squares there! (and that means 54 more to do, oooh).

I am still really liking the quilt as you go method for joining the squares .  With this technique you never have to have more than one block’s width rolled up under the arm of your sewing machine.  (the blocks are hand quilted, but pieced together by machine). I also love that it is pieced together so that it is patchwork on the front and back, too.  To be honest, I am feeling a bit intimidated with the amount of work left to do.  Each of these blocks takes me 45 minutes to an hour to quilt (I’m slow, but getting better!).  I even toyed with the idea of machine quilting some of the squares just to keep motivated and get some of it done quickly, but a friend told me, “Don’t do it! you’ll never forgive yourself”.  I laughed, but I thought about it and she was right.  I just know I’ll be proud of it when I’m done and know that I put so much effort into it, and didn’t compromise my plan.

Right now I just want it done so I can snuggle up under it.

Let’s Pink!

June 5th, 2009

When I saw this little machine in the thrift store I was immediately intrigued.

pm1

I thought it was beautiful.  It is all metal, except for the wooden handle, and is pretty small, at a little under 6 inches tall. (on my monitor, the photo is just a little bit smaller than the real thing)  I wasn’t sure what it was at first, but as I played with it I started to get an idea of what it was for.  When you turn the handle, the wavy blade turns as well as the metal disk below the table.  I thought it had to be for pinking fabric!  I brought it home, not really caring if it would work or not because I loved it.

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Just look at those neat gears on the back! You can see here that it was made by Singer.  I started looking around online after I got it home and found out that it’s a little hand pinking machine that Singer made during the first half of the 1930′s.  I was even able to download a PDF of the instruction manual.  The manual promised that the blade will “never need sharpening”!  I thought I’d better give it a try.  The little machine clamps down onto the edge of a table for security. I clamped it down, fed some sweet Kokka Japanese linen through it, and it worked like a charm! perfectly!

pm4

I wonder if Singer knew when they wrote their manual that it would really still work perfectly 70 years later.  It’s so nice because the machine feeds the fabric through as you turn the handle, all you have to do is guide it to keep it straight.  It is so much easier to use than pinking shears (scissors), because you never have to worry about lining up the zags and zigs every time you reopen the scissors to cut the next part.  You just get one long continuous line of perfect pinking!

pm6

I pinked the edges of a couple of rectangles of the linen and paired it with some lime green linen to make a pouch.  I made the pinked edges a part of the design since it was so fabulous.

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And look, the machine fits right inside.  Cute, no?

pm7