Sunday, July 10, 2011

Summer Fashion Show, Day 6: From My Mother's Closet to Mine

I am terrible at remembering to take 'before' pictures.  Usually my thrifted or inherited clothes get their wash, then get folded neatly into the spare laundry basket I keep my to-recycle clothing in.  I'm trying to be better about it now, but this was made a few weeks ago, though...

The original shirt had a solid black modesty panel in the v-neck--it was the first thing to go!  Having the edges of the neck fastened together didn't allow them to drape well, which was a critical design flaw, given that the center bust is pleated.  Once I took that out, I removed the sleeves so I could shorten the shoulders, which had to be done to move the underbust seam up into position.  Next I took in the sides and reshaped the back neck--I don't use it often, but I rather like the wide, shallow scoop, don't you?  I was worried a bit that it might fall off my shoulders, but it doesn't.  With all that done, I put the sleeves back on and poof! A flattering shirt from an ill-fitting cast-off!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Summer Fashion Show Day 5: Out of Mistakes...

..sometimes come wonders.

This is the thrift store tank before:

Nothing special, just a deep hunter green knit.  I picked it up because I'm a fan of deep colors, comes with being pale as paper.  I had the idea applique a bunch of petal shapes in different colors running down one side of the front; a thing better done with fusing and hand-sewing than pins and a machine, which is what I attempted.  I didn't even get two petals on before I abandoned it.

Sadly, the trying ruined part of the shirt--there was no way to pick all that stitching out without damaging the fabric further.  I sat on the problem a few days, wondering what to do instead--after all, most of the shirt was fine!

During that few days, I happened to blog-hop over here, and I knew that I wanted to try the technique--I'm much more fond of semi-improvisational patchwork than the (plodding) planned variety.  I'm just not fussy enough to cut perfectly and line up all my corners properly, though every once in a while I try again, hoping I'll get better.  But the method, like most patchwork, is obviously intended for the woven fabrics of traditional quilting, so it didn't occur to me to use it to fix my shirt.

Until this morning, when I had my lightbulb moment connecting the two.  Why this morning, I don't rightly know, but it happened, and less than three hours later, I had a new top to show for it.

The half of the front that I removed became the sashing for the scraps; I wish I'd had a little more so I could have bound the neck and arms with it as well, but I didn't, so I just turned under the edges.  I absolutely want to do this again, I am in love with it--I have a black turtleneck in my recycle pile, so I'm thinking reds, purple, and blues.  I'll either take off or shorten the sleeves to get extra sashing/binding strips.  I might also do half the back next time as well!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Summer Fashion Show, Day 4: I've Never Been to Japan...

...and yet somehow, I have a shirt from a study-abroad program there!  I'd say it's a funny story, but it's not; my MIL ran a similar program to Scotland and picked this up at one of the college fairs to give to my husband, and it eventually came to me.

Hey, look, I remembered to flip the image so the text is correct!  Aren't you proud?

I'm very pleased with how the neckline turned out--the original neck was so tight I had to take my glasses off to get the shirt over my head!  Usually I strive to make my collars lie flat, but I really wanted to use that particular pale blue fabric, and it's just not stretchy enough.  I do like the slight stand-up effect, and next time I use a very firm fabric for a neck binding, I think I might make it even wider...

I wrote an in-depth tutorial of the creation process for Craftster;  I started posting there last summer, but I was lurking for maybe another year before that, and I've been so inspired by everything there.  I've used quite a few tutorials and free patterns that others have posted, but until now I hadn't bothered to write any of my own, and I was starting to feel a little guilty for not contributing.  Now I have two up (the other one is for jewelry, and I will post it here after the Fashion Show concludes) and I've gotten very positive feedback on both, so I'm pondering what to write up next!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Summer Fashion Show, Day 3: Summer Stripey Goodness

Lately I've been drawn to bright colors and stripes.  It's like an illness.  I've picked up three button-downs over my last few thrift-store trips that I couldn't possibly wear, but I knew I had to have the fabric for something.  I have vague dreams of making one a purse, but I haven't quite gotten it to yet.

On my most recent trip, I was trying to find tank tops, as most of the ones I own either died last summer (RIP my favorite six tanks, all the same style in different colors, picked up for $1.50 each on a clearance rack!) or are slowly dying this summer.  On a previous visit, my Goodwill had all the tank tops in their own section, which was handy--but they're in the middle of expanding, they've taken over the shop next door, and someone decided to mix the tanks in with all the other ladies' tops, which are sorted first by size then by color.  Passing through my size yielded me very little, so I started moving up, knowing I could trim down too-large pieces.

I hit paydirt on the XL rack.

Blue! Teal!  Lime Green!  I fell in love.  I wanted it wearable now...I begrudged the time it took to wash it, and I certainly wasn't too thrilled by my long shift at work the next day!

But that night, in just a little over an hour, I turned it into this beauty, which had its public debut the next day at my local grocery.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Summer Fashion Show, Day 2: I Am Still a Geek

So last year, I got a tattoo.  Someone eventually noticed it was the Dragon Age: Origins loading screen image...which is an odd thing to get as a tattoo, I admit.  My reasoning was that it was a brilliant bit of stealth geekery--anyone who played the game might recognize me as a fellow geek, but to anyone who hadn't, it was just a cool, swirly, vaguely-Celtic-knot thing.  When I'm old and gray I might laugh about the story behind it, but it will still be pretty!

Well, I liked the art from Dragon Age II, too, but I feel no urge to get inked again, so I made clothing from a loading screen image instead, laboriously cut from freezer paper and stenciled on a reconned shirt.

I didn't intend to add the red panels to the sides, but I flubbed a cut and ended up with too-small front and back pieces.  Scrap fabric to the rescue!

It took a base coat of solid white and five coats of red to get that color--I wanted it to really pop against the black.  I didn't have any textile medium at the time (a situation now remedied), so I used the acrylic paint straight, which I've done before on jeans without a problem.  However, on the softer, more flexible jersey knit, the thickness I'd built up apparently couldn't survive a wash and dry without cracking.  Happily, I like the effect, and decided to distress it some more with a little tugging and stretching.

I really like working with freezer-paper stencils.  I need to do it more!

ETA:  I cleaned up the tags on all my posts, streamlining them by craft, for the most part.  If you follow me and your list shows edits, that's why you got spammed, and I apologize.  But it really needed to be done.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Summer Fashion Show, Day 1!

I haven't been knitting much--it's too hot!  But I have been sewing a lot, and neglecting to post any of it.

I love thrifting, as you well know if you spend any time here, so it's no surprise that this dress was once a frumpy, matronly thing that I pulled off the rack because of the beauty of the fabric.  Seriously, the pictures don't do it justice.

Multiple pinnings, seamings, tryings-on, and six hours of bead work later, I have a new favorite dress!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Wanna See a Hat Trick?

I can't quite say, "If there's a craft, I've tried it" yet, but if you don't watch me, I will branch out.  This excursion into doll-making took me a week and I'm extremely pleased with it.

Meet Caitlyn, Sheriff of Piltover, of League of Legends, in doll form.

Why, do you ask?  Well, I'm a geek, and I love geek-craft, and she's my favorite champion in the game so far.  I've only been playing about two months, so I haven't gotten through all of them yet, but Caitlyn is just fantastic.  And Riot Games does a weekly Summoner Showcase that features all sorts of player-made things.  When I started playing, my husband showed a few of them to me, and promptly said, "You should make something."  Unsurprisingly, I agreed!  So here she is.

The doll itself is made from the extremely popular Pretty Poppet pattern by ghilie, which I can highly recommend; I've done some basic toy making before, but never a jointed doll, and I had no problems constructing her.  It's a very good pattern, thank you, ghilie!

She's made of mostly recycled materials, which I am quite proud of--her skin was a Danskin tank top, both dress fabrics were thrifted formal gowns, the petticoat base and ruffled trims are scraps of bedsheet, and all the leather is from one of my mother's damaged purses, kindly donated to my upcycling collection.  The new materials were the yarn for her hair, her eyes, the wire, the lace for her petticoat, and all the thread to sew her together...not too shabby!

Her hair is a wig made of yarn hand-knotted onto a mesh base--in this case, a piece of an onion bag, if you can believe that.  The hat is fabric-covered cardboard, held on with extra hair extensions threaded through the base, which I tied to her wig.  Not the most stable thing, but it was very important to me that all her clothing and accessories be removable for future repairs.

The dress looked complicated at first, but wasn't too hard once I broke it down into sections: pieced bodice, waistband, gathered skirt, glued-on leather trim.  It took me some thinking to come up with a material suitable for the cog "buckle"--but I had a plastic lid from a Crisco can in my box of random craft things, and with my trusty X-acto knife, some paint, and some Super Glue, I had my cog charm.

Her leg bands are sections of purse strap.  These were a challenge second only to the boots, which came slightly later; my sewing machine couldn't handle the leather, so I couldn't sew it together.  I'd used Super Glue on the leather for the dress, and that held well enough, but it wasn't strong enough to hold the ends of the straps together.  Add to that my lack of tiny gold buckles, and I was stumped for a little while.  But when I was checking my bead box for something to substitute for the buckles, I found the copper wire, and an idea was born.  Both end of the leather are notched on opposite edges, and I contrived a method of linking the notches with the wire, then wrapping the whole thing extensively to hide the join.  They'll come apart if you play tug of war with them, but they hold just fine otherwise.  And they look cool.  I liked the effect so much I made myself a bracelet out of the strap I had left, despite the fact that I don't really do steampunk!  (My husband thinks I should, though.  Maybe when I have a job that doesn't have a uniform...)

The boots are an ode to the power of my hot glue gun.  There's no way in hell I could have managed them without it.

The arm bands and gloves use a modified version of the wrapping from the leg bands: I refined the notches a bit and used brown thread instead.  The gloves are held together above the thumb with that wrapping, then below the thumb I lashed a thin thong to one side, which threads through a slit on the other and then ties around the wrist.  I'm really proud of that.  Really proud.  Somebody give me a medal already!

I don't see myself churning out doll after doll now, but I would certainly make another one in the future--it was a lot of fun!  I do have two nieces that are going to need fancy dolls someday, but since right now, they're 3 and 1 years old, I think I have some time before they're ready....