I wore it in public!

May 19, 2012 § 19 Comments

Being able to sew something you chose from style to fabric to cut and wear it soon after has been quite an empowering thing for me. And I can’t thank Rikka of Ricochet and AwayΒ enough for hosting the I will wear it in public challenge. My thanks too to all the ladies who participated and have been showing such support, considering that we come from all walks of life and have found sewing as our common ground. This was such a fun challenge to do.

You’ve seen the test dress, so you basically know what I’ve done, though I did a few changes.

Choose your fabrics. This time I chose a flowery print for the top and a solid aqua for the bottom.

For the top, it’s basically a tube top made from two rectangles of fabric. For the length, measure the top of your chest to your lower hip and sew at the sides.

Then fold in the top about half an inch. This will be the “casing” for your elastic. The elastic should be as snug as you’ll be confident to wear. What I did was take the elastic all the way around the top of my chest and cut it about two inches shorter.

Make sure to leave a small opening so you can insert your elastic.

Take the elastic all the way around then sew ends together and sew your opening closed.

Since I don’t have an . . . eherm . . . ample bosom, I wasn’t too confident about the dress being just a tube top, so I added straps to mine.

I know I should have kept the straps stitched from the inside of the tube but I never liked straps biting into my skin and sewed them on the outside πŸ˜€

And done.

I’m very happy about this dress and can’t wait to wear it to the beach. It’s very comfortable and perfect for this crazy desert heat. I got to wear out to lunch with a friend though. Thanks to Meagan for setting aside her disdain of public picture taking and taking this shot of me.

 

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The accidentally grown-up dress

May 12, 2012 § 2 Comments

I’m not sure yet whether this is a happy accident or not, but I do know that this is not the dress I set out to do.

There I was, trying to recreate yesterday’s garment challenge dress with different fabrics and something completely different happened.

I did set out to do a sleeveless version, so I used a tank top for a pattern this time.

I chose a heavier print stretchy cotton fabric (yes, very technical) for the top and jersey knit for the bottom of the dress.

I sewed up everything together like before, except this time I wanted to try out a cowl neckline. Grab two rectangles. The length will depend on the neckline of your top, and the width depends on how “cowly” you want your neckline to be. Just make sure the fabric you use is the kind that would drape nicely. I used the same jersey knit as my skirt.

Sew up the sides of the rectangles together so you end up with a tube. Pin the right side of the “cowl” to the right side your top and sew right around.

When you flip the dress right side up, you’ll end up with something like this.

Now before you decide to go around robbing banks with this on, fold in the cowl in half and sew the bottom to your neckline again. And you’re done. Are you ready to see me all grown up? First let me show you the back.

I’m actually quite happy by how this turned out. It’s as close to professionally looking work I’ve ever done. I’m just not sure it’s me.

Takes some getting used to, I know! But still, this helped me try out something new with the cowl. Best of all, it showed me how my sewing and pattern making skills have improved a bit. All in all a good sewing day πŸ™‚ What do you think?

Garment Sewing Challenge Test Dress

May 11, 2012 § 10 Comments

As you all know, I haven’t been feeling quite myself lately and my crafting has suffered most of all. Then I saw this challenge from Rikka of Ricochet and Away and I just thought this was exactly the motivation I needed. Yet I still kept pushing it aside, saying I didn’t have the fabrics yet, I didn’t know what to do, blah blah blah and more blah. Till I finally decided to just shut up and do it already.

So here goes nothing πŸ™‚

The challenge was to make a garment you would be proud to wear in public. Sounds easy enough, but then you also had to try something you’ve never done before in making the garment. So my challenge for myself was to make a drop-waist dress with pleats and elastic. I’ve seen so many tutorials out there using elastic but I’ve been too chicken to try it out. Well, no time like the present to boldly go where every seamstress must go sometime.

First things first, for the top part of the dress, I chose a favorite top and traced a pattern from that.

 

I kept telling myself I’d buy new fabric for this challenge but realized it was just another excuse. So we’re going to use a familiar aquamarine jersey for this dress.

Make sure the front neckline is lower than the back neckline, pin together and sew along the sides. Keeping arm and neck holes open, of course πŸ˜‰

Now the skirt. I’m lazy, but that’s no excuse not to finish a challenge so I just put two ends of the leftover jersey together and sewed the open side seam closed to make a longish tube. I’m guestimating that for the whole dress I used up about 1.5 yards of fabric (yes, I am quite a small person).

So now, we need to put everything together.

Yes, you noticed that my thread is a much, much brighter blue than my fabric. But like I said, I was determined to at least do a dry run for this challenge this weekend, lack of right materials be damned. Which explains why I had to cheat on the pleats.

Instead of sewing them in place vertically, I sort of basted them in place. I figured this would at least hold their shape a bit. Now to sew the top and bottom together.

Sew the top and bottom together by inverting the top ride side in the skirt, topstitching the wrong side of the skirt. I hope that makes sense, I still get confused about it in theory but it works out right when you actually do it πŸ™‚ Now for the exciting part: sewing on the elastic.

I’ve seen so many tutorials for this but never really thought it would work. Truth: it does! I took the elastic all the way around the sewn together ends of the top and bottom (of course, you could just measure your hip but again, lazy) and cut the elastic about 3 inches shorter. Pin one end of the elastic to one of the side seams and sew about an inch or two, just to keep it in place. As you can see, my elastic was helpfully marked with zigzag lines I could follow so I sewed it on that way. After the first inch or so, start stretching the elastic as you sew all the way around until you get back to the pinned end. DO NOT stretch your fabric along with it. Especially since I was using jersey, this could have some disastrous results.

And you know what? I was done πŸ™‚

It’s a bit on the plain side, even for me. I think for the actual garment I’m entering in the challenge I’ll do a little jazzing up to it and maybe shorten the skirt a bit more. But for now a bright sash will do and I’ll still be happy to wear this outside anyway. I’m just really happy to be sewing again πŸ™‚

 

 

 

Boring sweater hack

February 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

If I had an infinite number of shirts, I think cutting them up would now be my new hobby. This is Cardigan Attempt No.3. Well technically No. 2 since I started this before the cardigan from scratch. But I realized it wouldn’t be as warm as I needed it to be so I set it aside for a bit.

I bought this sweater just because it was going for 20 AED when its original price was 165 AED. I got home and realized it didn’t really go with anything but it was too thin to wear alone. At least not while it’s still winter in the Sand Globe. So what to do?

Cut it up, of course, especially now that we’ve learned we could put two shirts together and make them into a drapey cardigan.Β 

This is a project you can do when you’re having an especially bad day. Cutting things up seem to release endorphins and make me happy. It could help you too πŸ™‚ So cut up an old shirt at the seams, remove the neckline and the bottom hem and pin along the newly cut up middle of your sweater. See that extra bit of fabric hanging at the end? Cut that away but keep it. We’ll use it for something else. Sew both tops together.

Remember that bit of t-shirt left over that we cut away? Grab that and make circles. Small ones, big ones, whatever floats your fancy. You could also add circles from other fabric scraps and make a petal neckline like Lindsey’s on The Pleated Poppy.

Once you’ve sewn the petals in place, you’re done. Yay πŸ™‚ I’ve been timing myself because I’ve noticed that I spend waaaaaay too much time crafting and have to cram in everything else in my life in whatever time I have remaining. Thankfully this one only took me half an hour to do. Not bad, eh? Three down, one last garment for the week to go.

And demmit, I can’t believe my weekend is over 😦

Circular vest

February 20, 2012 § 2 Comments

I think I’m finally caught up on people’s birthdays and special occasions so I must now stop procrastinating and get back to what I originally intended when I started crafting: making my own clothes. If you follow my Sewing Projects board on Pinterest, you’ll notice that I have pinned lots of simple, beginner’s dressmaking projects. But for some reason, this one today caught my eye and had me doing a mental inventory of what fabrics and materials I still have not used. I have a very good feeling this is going to make an appearance at a certain concert this weekend. Or that could just be my hubris talking. We’ll see in this Friday’s post. In the meantime, learn how to make it along with me at Threads Magazine.

DIY stone sconces

February 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

I love lighting. You wouldn’t know it from the cave I live in and my eyes’ peculiar sensitivity to light, but I do. My lack of lighting and the blankness of my walls have become a fixture on this blog and it just so happens that I came upon this post from The Noshery. I’m still not convinced about drilling holes and hanging things on my walls but I like the simplicity of this project. Just a thought, you could use old book ends for this instead of having to knock together loose pieces of wood. But I’ll let them explain better how it’s done here.

One foldover clutch two ways

February 17, 2012 § 2 Comments

Hello! It’s been a crazy week at work and an even crazier one in my sweatshop. Surprisingly enough, I did manage to finish everything on deadline in both “jobs” (just please don’t drop by unannounced because my house looks like a tornado just went through it) and now I can post this week’s finish.

For someone whose bag over the years has been a shapeless oversized carry-all, I am turning out to be quite the bag lady. (Excuse me if you catch me oggling your bag on the train or bus. I am not planning to steal it, I swear. Oh okay, at least just the design :D) I’ve been obsessed with how foldover bags are constructed, so this week’s challenge was to finally make one – actually, two. But because I am me, the best motivations are the challenge of a tight deadline, a schedule waaaaay past my bedtime, and making it special enough to give as a gift.

I like the Lee who crafts. She’s a planner, highly methodical, has a good case of OCD and likes to figure out what works and what doesn’t. I wish she stayed around for the mundane stuff, like house chores. But she’s very choosy about what she does, so I’ll leave her alone to do what she does best: making things.

First, choose your materials. I did a Peter Jackson here and did two bags at one time. Same lining material, different outer fabric and embellishments. One would be black with white lace, the other a spiral blue and purple print. Once you’ve chosen your outer fabric and lining material, cut two pieces each to 12 inches x 18 inches. Your final clutch size will be a bit large and envelope shaped, so you might want to adjust the sizes according to your preferences. Just be sure you have enough length to fold the bag over once finished.

I was very caught up making these bags that I didn’t take as many pics as I usually do for a step-by-step but I think you’ll get the idea. If not, here’s the basic foldover bag tutorial from Noodlehead. Pictured is one of the linings. I used a very flimsy sateen fabric for the lining and lightweight cotton for the outer fabric but I wanted the clutch to hold its shape well, so I used some interfacing. That’s the white stuff you see there over the red lining. I also learned to add a zippered pocket to lining this week from the lovely Lisa Lam, so these bags should be quite functional, with room for coins, keys and mobiles. I finished both linings first and set them aside. Now for the outer bags.

The bags themselves will probably take you about 2 hours to make, tops. What bogged me down was the embellishments. Did I mention that Crafty Lee is astonishingly patient? The lace on the black bag was just the beginning. I wanted to use Modge Podge (which for glue, I found out, is quite expensive at AED 56 a 236 ml bottle) but I experimented on this beforehand and found out I didn’t quite like the finish, so it was back to trusty fabric glue. You can even sew this on, but I didn’t want to risk my machine having another tantrum because of me mixing the wrong materials together.

Now for the other one. I originally planned for the blue bag to have a huge floppy, sparkly bow as its centrepiece.

Yep, there’s me putting on the sparklies one by one using fabric glue and nifty pliers. Yes, there’s an applicator that makes life much easier for noobs like me. But at AED 160 (about $35-$40), it didn’t feel too crafty for a tool I would use very rarely. But that’s not the funny part. I set it out to dry and went to bed, woke up in the morning and decided I didn’t like how it looked. So on to something different.

You could get the tutorial for the fabric flowers atΒ My Sparkle. Shireen, the very supportive guinea pig for the black clutch, told me I needed to figure out my costings now so I could start putting a price to these things. But you now see my dilemma. It’s not a matter of wasting materials and time, it’s about getting it right and being happy with the results for me at this point. We’ll figure out the practical matters once OriginaLee is ready to open its doors πŸ™‚

My newfound sparkle fetish satisfied, now it’s all business.

Sew the outer fabric and lining together. Once you’ve done the whole turning the bag inside out routine, you’ll want to iron the edges so they’re crisp and straight. Take note of the side where the zippered pouch is on. I wanted that side to be against the body when my giftee’s clutching the clutch, so you’ll know which side to foldover and iron.

For the black one I had to put on the lace embellishment before sewing it together. For this one, since the flowers would obviously make ironing the bag difficult, the detailing came later. Whenever you decide to put on your embellishments, at this point you’re about done.

I know a lint remover is invaluable in making sure your projects end up nice and neat. But my inner cheapo just couldn’t stand the idea of spending for something that’s not an actual tool, material, or has more than one use. So I McGyver-ed a lint remover using 3M tape and four oddly shaped fingers. Works perfectly well. Just make sure you don’t use tape with a sticky kind of adhesive, then you’ll be adding extra embellishments to your stuff that you didn’t plan for or want.

Finally . . .

I love it! I think I’m actually jealous and should make one of these for myself πŸ™‚ Happy weekend, mah peeps!

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