While waiting for calls, I’m cleaning house of all kinds of things I’ll never wear or alter, and getting them up on Etsy.
Here’s hoping they go.
Archive for June, 2008
I used to have a dining room.
It’s now my work space, home to files and a printer and a few spots to post ideas and deadline reminders and all.
Computer sits on this small table pulled from an alley when it still was green and had a narrow shelf underneath. The shelf since has been dropped, redrilled and bolted on and the whole thing a stunning shade of purple found on the Home Depot Oops paint table. Scanner machine fits underneath now, and the alterations are less apparent.
I can’t sew right now. I’ve knitted a tiny bit while watching TV news, but I don’t feel like I have the luxury of crafting quite yet. Soon, I hope, once the chips have fallen and I have a productive daily routine.
At least I’m finishing something.
At least while unemployed and looking for work, I will get done some little stuff I couldn’t manage while on the job full time. Like post to the Craigslist the stuff that has been cluttering my apartment for a few years.
A mini fridge I bought from sears.com for the Mister’s birthday to make a kegerator. Turns out the stainless upgrade they gave me didn’t quite hold a pony keg. Has sat in living room ever since, unplugged with the protective film intact.
And a steamer trunk I’ve had since 2004 and used as a coffee table. Giant thing’s an antique, made in Racine, Wisc., by the Whealy luggage company. While looking it up online, I found this patent information for its “Wardrola” technology. It’s super cool – stands up on one end, and the front swings open. Wooden hangers and a box fit inside, and the locks are pretty elaborate. Love it — but ran out of room since I expanded the home office from a desk for paying bills to a room with my files, ideas and a comfortable place to write.
Must update my Etsy store too with the thrifting I did right before the bomb dropped.
Might be time to have a lay-off sale!
This top started out as a thrifted nightshirt with a plain front and a bottom rounded bottom edge. Which I promptly cut off and then hemmed up the shirt edge. Those scraps stared at me for months until I figured it out: Ruffles for the front.
finished close up of ruffled front
Making ruffles is really easy with t-shirt strips, fabric strips w finished edges, or in this case, fabric tubes made from scraps.
Either fold the strips in half, lengthwise or measure the halfway mark.
Cut straight down the middle.
Fold each piece in half, lengthwise, wrong sides facing, and press.
Sew each strip, wrong sides together, close to the edge.
I ended up with four tubes, two long and two short.
Turn the tubes, so the right sides are out, and press them with the seam in the center back.
Baste down the middle of each tube.
Fold the top and bottom edges over and stitch, by hand or machine.
Lay strips out on the shirt. I decided to do three, and combine the two short pieces into one long one.
Pin the top of each strip to the shirt neck. I pinned the right side of the top strip upside down at the V point of the shirt.
Then gather the strips by gently pulling the underthread of the basting. Pin as you gather. When you get to the bottom, fold the edge under.
All three are pinned and ready to be sewn.
Stitch down the center of each strip.
As if leopard could get better!
French seams encase the raw seam edges securely inside two seams. They’re necessary for delicate fabrics, because two seams are stronger than one and the two lines of stitching prevent fraying. But French seams also are fabulous for garments with simple, straight lines because they’re beautifully clean and neat, and need no more finishing. I’m hooked, mostly because I hate finishing edges.
Here’s the center back seam of BurdaStyle’s Minna top.
Take the seam allowance of the seam and divide it into two whole numbers. So a 5/8″ allowance becomes 2/8″ (1/4″), plus 3/8″.
Pin the pieces together wrong sides together.
Sew the smaller number first – the 2/8″ (1/4″) seam allowance. I’ve done so by using the 3/8″ guide, and setting the needle placement to the right.
Trim the raw edges, leaving 1/8″.
Push the raw edges to one side, and press flat.
Now fold the fabric over at the seam, so the right sides are facing each other. Press and tack with a few pins.
Back at the machine, sew your remaining 3/8″ seam.
Voila! A 5/8″ seam with no rough raggedy edges.
French seam from wrong side
Check out the how to on Burda Style here.
Thrifted a long sleeved black cotton blouse this week because of the great wrap detail – a button plus tie with a cummerbund sort of detail – and decided, so I can wear it to work, to do the simplest shortening of all – a basic chop and hem – while watching the nightly news.
You can see the long sleeve as a before, and the sleeve I shortened as an after.
Flip the blouse inside out to work with it. Mark where you want the short sleeve to end, cut straight across, and then hem using this failsafe method: Measure an inch from the raw edge, fold up wrong sides together and press. Then fold the raw edge into the fold, and press again. Tack with a few pins, then stitch with a basic straight stitch. I like to use excised sleeve #1 to mark and cut sleeve #2.
Doesn’t get much easier – unless you chop and wear, a la t-shirts.
Wrap clothing is my salvation and my downfall both. Tops and dresses that wrap always fit – and that’s the problem – there’s no telling how snug they should be since there’s always plenty of give. in the end, I seek out stuff that wraps around because it always looks good on me. I get my much-needed waist, and there’s room for many or no layers underneath.
The purple-ing of my wardrobe continues. Wardrobe Refashioners advised me many moons ago to figure out what I like and need and stick to it. I like purple and I need clothes that fit well, and nothing adjusts more easily than a wrap. My stash is full of purple fabrics in one- and two-yard lengths.
So I made a dress from a pattern I had, McCalls 4007, and some purple linen-like fabric from the Joann clearance rack bought last summer, maybe.
I finished my size and didn’t love the neckline – which prompted me to get cracking on Burda Style’s Desira wrap – but it fit nicely and screamed out for a freezer-paper stencil.
I used a blown-up evil eye design, the simplest I could find online and still it took a lot of skill with scissors to cut out precisely. (Note to self to choose something with fewer pieces next time.) Image also known as a hamsa or hand of Fatima and my superstitious self adores it.
Traced the outline with a pencil on the flat side of freezer paper.
Cut it all out. I like to use tiny scissors. Ironed the bottom skirt flap where image was going. Carefully placed pieces onto the skirt, ironing a piece at a time (no steam!), first the outline, then the small motifs.
Mixed gold and purple craft paint with white fabric paint medium. Put the fabric on a chunk of newspaper in case of bleeding, then dabbed the paint on until the whole stencil was well covered.
Let mostly dry, then applied a second coat, streaked with gold. Let paint dry overnight just in case. Peeled off freezer paper pieces carefully.
Held up for Mister to admire.