Saturday, August 1, 2015

Refashion Runway - Week #2 - Gingham / Checks

Here is my week #2 submission for the Refashion Runway Challenge Hosted by The Renegade Seamstress.  See all of the week 2 submissions and vote here!

Refashion Runway Week #2
This little dress started life as a duvet.  When I found it at Goodwill I HAD to have it (never mind that I didn't know what I would do with it).

This twin size duvet was enough fabric to make TWO dresses!  If I had used a pattern (instead of winging it) I would have wasted less material, but I got 2 size 16 dresses, so it all worked out!

Because I was more or less winging it, I cut the back WAY too small.  Short on fabric I improvised and made a shirred panel in the back so that the dress would fit.

Shirred back panel - Thank you elastic thread!
I blogged about these 2 dresses a couple of weeks ago.  You can see the step by step tutorial, PLUS a tutorial on shirring here.

This dress was SO MUCH fun to make and is even more fun to wear.  She's moved past her days as a boring bedspread and now she's fully out in the world!

The necklace and earrings featured here were handmade by LeJewells by Karmin (my very talented cousin)!!

Photo credit - me with a selfie stick. (I gave up on my surly 10 year old - apparently my dress making, this contest and picture taking in general are not as interesting as minecraft)

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Refashion Runway - Week #1

The Week #1 challenge was to create a garment that combined floral with stripes or geometric shapes.

Never, never, never in a million years would I have combined striped and flowers!  That's just not who I imagine myself to be.  But alas, i'm in the challenge and I want to win and so I gave it a shot!

I was torn between this prairie dress and a basic black and white floral skirt.  I figure "If you're going to challenge yourself really do it!"  I chose the dress that I liked the least and decided to turn it into something that I could really love and wear.  I'm thrilled with how she turned out!  Dusty Rose (my name for her) has truly blossomed!

See the other contestants designs and vote  at The Renegade Seamstress.

Dusty Rose and I in Times Square
Here's how I created this dress:

I started with a floral prairie dress and a boxy stripped t-shirt.

Floral print close up

boxy striped t-shirt close up

The dress was WAY to small for me.  I was a junior size 9 (I wear a woman size 16/18).  Because the skirt of the dress was heavily gathered I knew that I would end up with enough fabric to make a full skirt.

Junior Size 9 - yikes!

Like with all refashions, I begin by cutting off the parts of the garment that don't work for me.

I cut the skirt from the dress bodice
  Next I had to figure out how much of the shirt to keep.  I put it on and marked it with a pin.

Next I laid the shirt flat and cut just below the pin.

Cut BELOW the pin!
With the unneeded fabric out of the way, it's time to join the top and bottom of the dress.  With the right sides together sew the top to the bottom.

Sew the dress top to the bottom
PRO TIP:  The first time you join 2 pieces sew using a large stitch with no back stitch at the beginning or the end.  This allows you to view your work, but the stitch is easy to remove if you need to make adjustments.

First stitch 

Second row of stitching 
Once you're happy with everything, make a second (smaller stitch).

If you're happy with the finished product, you're all done.  I needed this dress to be a little less boxy, so I cut it to enhance my shape.

Cut to enhance my figure

Finally, I added a little ribbon to complete the look.

I forgot to photograph it, but I also shortened the sleeves and cut the neckline a little deeper.


So pretty!

To see everyone else's week 1 dresses, Click here!!!

To see my other Refashion Creations, click HERE!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Refashion- Refashion Runway Season #3

I had never heard of Refashion Runway until the other day.  I completed the application, sent nit off and hoped for the best.  Turns out I WAS CHOSEN!!!!!!!!!


Over the next 6 weeks i'll complete refashion challenges and everyone will vote on them.  Each week a designer will be eliminated.  At the end of the challenge 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners will be chosen.

I've decided to complete all 6 challenges regardless of whether i'm eliminated or not!

Each week i'll post a tutorial detailing how I created my refashion.

Please review and vote on everyone's design HERE at The Renegade Seamstress.  (She's awesome by the way!!!!)

If you'd like to sew along, here are the challenges:

Week 1: Combine Floral and Geometric or Stripes
Week 2: Gingham
Week 3: Handbag, Tote bag or Clutch
Week 4: Maxi Skirt or Dress
Week 5: Boho Chic
Week 6: Asymmetrical
Week 1 creations will be posted next Saturday, July 25 and you can begin voting for your favorites.

For more of my REFASHIONs click here!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Sewing Tutorial - Tied Boyfriend Shirt

I LOVE the casual look of a tied shirt over a dress, but HATE the bulky feeling of extra fabric in the back.

This quickie tutorial will help you eliminate the bulk of extra fabric while keeping the cute boyfriend shirt look.

If you have one, start with a shirt you already like.  I like this little pink shrug.  Its a good length for me.

Next you need a plain button down shirt.

Place the shrug over the full length shirt.

  Now cut the excess fabric from the full length shirt.  Be sure to leave tails for tying the shirt.

I finished the edges of the shirt with a zigzag stitch.

That's it!!

I prefer longer ties on my shirts, so I buy oversize shirts when I know that i'll be cutting them down.

I am a large chested woman and prefer a regular bra (instead of a strapless).  When I'm wearing a strapless less, these little tops allow me to wear a regular bra and enjoy full support!

For more sewing tips and tutorials, click here!

For more ReFashion ideas, click here!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Tips and Tricks - Beach Tips!

It's that time of year again!  Time to head to the beach!

I'm just back from vacation (more pix at the end of this blog) and i'm here to offer you my best tips!

First things first though - I TOTALLY forgot to mention that I would be appearing on a beach themed episode of The Chew.  The episode aired while I was away (June 22nd I believe) and so I missed it.  I was able to grab a few screen shots and i'm happy to post them!

Here's the link to The Chew Beach Party Episode!

Here I am waiting to offer my beach tip!
The episode was taped this winter, but here I am all decked out in summer gear trying to look warm (we were FREEZING).

Scene's from ABC's The Chew

Frozen Aloe Vera Cubes for Sunburn
Freeze aloe vera in ice cube trays and pack them in your cooler.  They're great for soothing sun burned skin!

Cupcake liner Drink Covers
 Use Cupcake liners as drink covers.  These keep sand and bugs out of your drink!

Cloth Shower Curtain LINER for the beach!
Use a CLOTH shower curtain liner as your beach blanket.  They're lightweight, inexpensive and reusable.  Plus sand won't stick to them.  They offer a nice large picnic area on the beach and use can use the stakes in the curtain holes to anchor it in the sand.

When you're ready to leave the beach a quick shake gets rid of the sand!

Packing List for kids (and possibly husbands)
We are a family of 5.  BY FAR the hardest part of me is getting everyone packed, ready and out the door.  The boys want to help and so I make them all packing lists!

The list is customized for each family member.

Family Packing List
The basic list includes clothes, books, toys, electronics, chargers and toiletries each person will need for about a week at the beach (our beach house has a washer/dryer).  The most important item on the list is "This List."  Each family member packs all of the items PLUS the list.  When it's time to come home, check off each item from the list to make sure that nothing is left behind!

We've used this technique for years and have never left anything at the beach house or in a hotel room.


Now for the most important part of this post - the vacation pix!  Here we are at the beach!

No matter where you go or what you do this summer, make time to relax and enjoy yourself!

For more Tips and Tricks, click HERE!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Refashion - From Duvet into 2 Dresses
I love a good refashion project, and this was my most ambitious try.

I purchased a beautiful twin size duvet from GoodWill for $5.99.  I LOVED the colors and thought they'd make a great dress.

Cheapo duvet from the charity shop

Pretty colors!

I used one of a favorite dresses as a pattern.  First I cut the top.

Cut pattern from an old dress

Cut 2 - from and back

Then I cut the skirt.

Cut 3 skirt panels.  Use 4 for a super full skirt

Turns out the top was a little too snug so I make a shirred panel for the back.

I added a shirred panel to make the dress top bigger.

The original dress had a shirred panel in the back and I failed to consider that when cutting the dress.  No matter, making a shirred panel was quick and easy!  We'll cover shirring later in this post.

I put all of the pieces together to complete the dress.  I did a LOT of fixing and editing along the way.  I ended up cutting the arm holes bigger and i changed the neckline from square to sweetheart.  The original dress was WAY too short, so I cut a long panel to lengthen the dress.  All in all i'm pleased with the result.

Sweetheart neckline

I decided to make the second dress sleeveless assuming that it would be quicker and easier.  It wasn't any faster or easier, but I enjoyed it nevertheless.

Dress #2

For the second dress I cut a strip of fabric big enough to fit around my chest.  I added a few inches because shirring makes things smaller.


Shirred Top Dress

For this project I used 100% cotton fabric, elastic thread, cotton thread and a sewing machine.

Elastic thread ($2.49 at the fabric store)

Hand roll the elastic thread onto a bobbin.

Hand wind your bobbin

Now thread the bobbin into the sewing machine.

Load as usual

Hem the top of the panel to be shirred (with regular thread).  Using the elastic thread bobbin, begin sewing shirred lines.

Be patient and keep sewing

For the first couple of lines it doesn't look like much.  Just keep going.

It takes a few rows before it looks right

A few lines in it begins to look ok.  Keep sewing.

Fully shirred panel

Before you know it you have an entire shirred panel!  But wait -  you're not done yet!!!

You'll need to wet the panel so that it can contract.

Wet the shirred panel

I wet the panel in the sink and allowed it to drip dry.  (Use could also toss it in the dryer).  While the panel dried, I made and hemmed simple skirt.  I also added a few bright pink embellishments to the skirt.

I added a bit of color to an otherwise plain skirt

One the top dried, I sewed it to the skirt.

All done!

Easy Breezy!

For more ReFashion projects, click HERE!

Photo credits to my very grumpy 10 year old was is thoroughly unimpressed with my desire to use him as a photographer.