Linen Challenge

I recently took part in a linen challenge, which was to take any linen, or combination there of, and turn it into something new. Well I tried really hard and was not in the least happy with how it turned out. But I didn’t give up, and managed to save it. I have to tell you it is comfortable and I enjoyed wearing it, but I have not been looking forward to blogging about it. Who enjoys telling about their failures??  Plus the weather is starting to stay nice here, which makes it even harder to sit down and type….at least that is the story I am sticking too…..

I started with an oval cotton table-cloth with a wide lace trim, a sheer curtain panel with an outline of a flower and a purple crochet doily. The basis of what I wanted to do with it was sound….the outcome less so. *big sign* well, here goes nothing….

The starting linens...

The starting linens…

and the doily.

and the doily.

At the oval ends I cut out two wrap skirts, making one a whole lace width smaller. I then cut out two layers of the curtain using the smaller piece as the guide. Lastly I removed the lace off the rest of the tablecloth.

First up was dying the tablecloth/skirt. I picked two shades of purple. I used a technique that I have used before and like the look of. It uses ordinary acrylic paint, and gives a slightly variegated look. I dilute the paint with lots of water, place the fabric in the wash and lift and push and stir and poke until the entire piece of fabric is covered. Just let it sit for a while, usually around 30 minutes, and than rinse with cold water until running clear. Let dry and iron. I have used then method on smaller pieces and have found it works fine, if you like the slightly variegated/tie-dyed look. You need to make sure you use enough water or it will be stiff.

linenpaint

Which brings me to mistake number one….painting one of the lace layers. I used a silver acrylic paint, but did not dilute it enough….it was standing on its own when it dried! I soak it in water, scrubbed it, soak it some more, add rubbing alcohol to the water and scrubbed scrubbed it more. Finally I removed enough paint that is was flowy again.

To much paint leaves it standing at attention. aargh

To much paint leaves it standing at attention. aargh

I then sewed to lines down the center of the lace doily and cut it apart. I used the leftover tablecloth to make the waist band.

sewing and cutting

sewing and cutting

I took the left over laced, which I also dyed and sewed it to the curved bottom of the curtain fabric. I then laid all the layers down and basted them together. Here was my second mistake…not trying the skirt of for looks…would have saved a lot of disappointment.

Lining up the lace and basting it all together.

Lining up the lace and basting it all together.

The two pieces of the waistband were sewed together with the lace doily between them. This was opened up and iron down , with the doily to the front, and the top edge edge-stitched. The front waistband was sewed to the skirt, being careful not to catch the doily. I then sewed the inside waistband down, following the seam-line of the front band, sewing the doily down at the same time.

Working on waistband #1

Working on waistband #1

OMG!!! Fits the hips and huge on the waist, so I threaded elastic through the waistband. Much better. Then added the closures and tried it on again. Not bad, but so so SO not me….plus it made me feel like all you would see was hips!

Front view, take one

Front view, take one

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Side view, take one

I put it aside for a few days and thought about what I could do with it. It took a few days before burning it wasn’t the first answer. I removed the waistband/doily. I played around with the idea of removing a single layer of curtain, but decided to remove both. I took the lace off the curtains and sewed it to the top layer of the skirt, just above that layer of lace.

Next was the shaping. Darts in the back helped, but it needed more, so I did a series of tucks in the front, as well as on each lace strip so that it would fit into the new waistband better.

Back darts....

Back darts….

and front tucks.

and front tucks.

There was enough tablecloth left to do the waistband and ties. I had since dyed it with a white dress, but the color works well with the skirt. After attaching the waistband and ties, and put in a buttonhole for the tie.

I left the tie ends with the raw edges from their old tablecloth days.

I left the tie ends with the raw edges from their old tablecloth days.

Now it fits much better, and is so much less bulky than before. I really like it now.

Front view, take two

Front view, take two

Back view, take two

Back view, take two

I hope my errors will help someone know where to go right when they try this. Every error is a chance to learn, or try, something new.

linen

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Turing a Dress into a Bodice Top

I purchased a traditional Mexican dress last year. I picked it out because it had purple embroidery (of course) but it turned out to be too big for me.

Seems big...

Seems big…

 

Way too big!!! It Floats.

Way too big!!! It Floats.

But I still loved the embroidery and wanted to make something I would wear out of it. It took a year, but I finally figured out what I wanted. I had played around with ideas, but I was losing too much of the embroidery. I settled on the bodice overtop from Simplicity costume pattern 4940. I copied the pattern pieces needed. I use examination table paper; the paper you sit on in doctor’s office.

Plain Jane back.

Plain Jane back.

After opening the two side seams of the dress, I folded the front in half. I then laid the pattern piece for the top portion of the bodice, making sure to not cut into the neckline. This made for a higher/thicker neckline then the pattern called for.

I folded in half and matched the neckline, then laid the pattern piece down.

I folded in half and matched the neckline, then laid the pattern piece down.

The bodice piece, cut out.

The bodice piece, cut out.

Next was the waist portion. Here I used the rest of the heavy embroidery on the shoulders. I sewed the shoulder sections together, matching the embroidery. The scalloped edge of the dress ended up running length-wise down the front. This made the piece more squared than rectangle, so I added to the sides using some of the front of the dress with the smaller embroidery design. I laid these pieces under the scalloped edges and sewed them together with a zigzag stitch, over both the scalloped edge and the zigzag stitch already on the dress.  Laying this sewn section flat, I placed the center of the waist portion pattern on the center seam line of the built-up fabric. By doing this I ended up with a mirror-image section.

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Making the most of the embroidery.

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Sewing pieces together to get a piece big enough for the waist section.

The back of the garment contains  a center zipper between two solid (from the shoulder to the hip) pieces. I used the skirt section of the dress front and in that way used the little embroidery designs again.

This fabric is very light weight and a little sheer, so I cut every pattern piece (for lining) using the back of the dress. I then basted all the top and lining pieces together. I saved the scalloped edges of the dress for future use; I wanted to use as much of the embroidery as possible and am hoping that my idea on that will work…..

Lining the bodice piece with fabric from the back of the dress. I zigzagged the edges and trimmed off the excess.

Lining the bodice piece with fabric from the back of the dress. I zigzagged the neckline and trimmed off the excess.

First was sewing the front pieces together. Here I cut a strip of the scalloped edged that was around 1 1/4 inch wide and sewed it between the bodice top and waist. I then zigzagged that down to the bodice waist.

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I used more of the edge of the dress when sewing the bodice to the waist piece.

Next was sewing the shoulders and sides. The shoulders were wider in the front; no surprise there as I ended up cutting the neckline bigger to retain the embroidery. I just made an inverted tuck to match the edges. No issues with the sides. After trying on I took the sides in a little for a better fit.

I used a combination of flower and leave machine decorative stitching.

I used a combination of flower and leave machine decorative stitching.

I finished the edges of the arm-holes and the back neckline with thin double fold bias tape. I used a combination of decorative stitches to stitch the bias tape down with variegated purple thread.

Finished back.

Finished back.

Zipper time.

The edges of the dress became the hem of the top.

The edges of the dress became the hem of the top.

For the hem I tried that idea I was thinking of to use the scalloped edge, and it worked!! I cut strips of the edge around 1 1/2 inches wide and sewed them together for a long strip. This I sewed to the bottom, and then turned the seam up and stitched down so the seam would stay up in place.

Finished and gorgerous.

Finished and gorgeous.

I love my new Mexican top and am looking forward to wearing to Mexico some time soon.

Mexician Dress

Turing a Jacket into a Corset

I totally deconstructed a jacket that was too small and made a corset out of it. I love the colors so wanted to make something different with it. Even the sleeves and the collar were opened up and laid flat; I had nothing but little pieces left.

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It was my first time making a corset and it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. The fabric has some stretch to it so I used an iron on interfacing, as well as the sew in interfacing. I didn’t have enough fabric left for the binding, but found some in my stash that complemented it.

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When I went to find the pictures I swear I took of the before and during they had totally disappeared. Oh well. I still have the after pictures.

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Two T-shirt Refashions

I managed, somehow, to find time to do two refashions for our latest Pinterest challenge. Since then my days have all continued to evaporate from morning to evening, making me wonder what faery had granted me with the time to refashion two, and where oh where can I find her again?!?

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For the first refashion I combined two t-shirts. The angel t-shirt was a refashion from few years ago that I wanted to ‘change’ again, but didn’t want to lose any more of the angel. Finally I saw a Pinterest post that caught my attention.

The previously refashioned Angel

The previously refashioned Angel

After figuring out the size of the angel to be cut, I used those measurements to determine the size of the opening on the front of the green t-shirt. Now for more measuring and lots of marking.

and the other one

and the other one

I folded the t-shirt in half, matching the shoulder and bottom seams, to find the middle of the front. I then drew a line (I used tailors chalk, which most times will iron off) down the center. Using the center line as a guide I drew two more lines down the sides. These lines mark the sides of the open. DO NOT CUT anything yet! Now mark the inside of the of the t-shirt the same way. The inside lines will be used to sew the angel onto the green t-shirt.

line how to

Turn the t-shirt right side out again. Staring from the bottom, I marked every inch on each side line. Draw a line across the front of the shirt. These lines are cutting lines, but not yet. Put those scissors down!

pretty purple angel

pretty purple angel

I cut out the angel, a little bigger then the finished size on the sides and bottom. With the inside of the green t-shirt facing you, place the angel face down. Line up the sides and the top; you will have more fabric hanging beneath the hem. I machine basted the angel down the two sides.

I used a small self-healing mat to help prevent me from pinning the front to the back.

I used a small self-healing mat to help prevent me from pinning the front to the back.

Now it is time to cut ALL those lines, from one side to the other. Now for more cutting – cut the ends on one side line only. The weaving is very easy. I divided all the strips into 3 sections, and just was lucky enough to have even numbers in all three sections. I am going to use the section of 10 for the explanation, with ‘strip #’  coming from the uncut side and ‘spot #’ being on the cut side. Number each strip 1 to 10. Gently tug on each strip to make it curl in on itself. Ok, here we go….

weaving time

weaving time

Take strip 1 and pin to the spot 6. Continue as follows strip 2 to spot 7, strip 3 to spot 8, strip 4 to spot 9, and strip 5 to spot 10. Now for the weaving. Take strip 6 and weave it under and then over strips 1-5 until through all 5 strips and pin to spot 1. Take strip 7 and weave it over and then under strips 1-5 until thorough all 5 strips and pin to spot 2. Continue as follows, strip 8 under and over to spot 3, strip 9 over and under to a spot 4, and strip 10 under and over to spot 5.

That's a lot of weaving.

That’s a lot of weaving.

I did the other two sections of strips the same way. I tucked the side edges under, pinning in place. You could leave them under tucked. Sew down the edges of the sides, backstitching at the top and bottom.

finished hem

finished hem

Time to finish the hem of the angel. Turn up the bottom edge to be even with the hem line of the green t-shirt and double stitch the hem to match. Lastly, turn the t-shirt inside out and trim the extra purple away.

I love the look, but am not sure about how much cleavage this ended up showing. Next time I will use an t-shirt that has a higher neck line.

before after 1

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Next up is the refashion of a t-shirt dress. Originally I had intended on turning it into a tunic, but Pinterest had other ideas.

uhmm....just something not quite right with this.

uhmm….just something not quite right with this.

I cut the top off and used the empire waist section for the waist. I had to take in the sides and I also raised the hem line.

snip snip

snip snip

I cut off at least 4 inches of the hem, which I trimmed down to 3 inches wide. I then cut the bottom of the top in two 3″ strips. I sewed the two strips from the top and the strip from the hem into one long section. Dividing this long strip into 4 section I then machine basted each section.

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3 inch strips

Marking the middle of the front and back and using the side seams I divided the skirt into 4 sections, measuring up 6 inches from the hem. Pinning the strip sections to the mark skirt sections, I gathered each section evenly and pinned down. Next was sewing down the gathered strips at the top and bottom, stretching the fabrics slightly while sewing.

all pinned up and ready to sew

all pinned up and ready to sew

Now the extra fabric from the angel t-shirt shows up again.  I cut out three flower shapes, same size. I dug through my t-shirt straps and found a green that worked nicely with the green of the skirt. I cut out three leaves.

and now for a little touch of spring...

and now for a little touch of spring…

I arranged the flower, all three attached on top of each other and then arranged the leave. I sewed the leaves down first and then placed the stacked flower back on top of the leaves and sewed it down.

back view

back view

I now have a fun skirt for the warm weather, the one or two days a week we are currently being treated to here in Nova Scotia any way.

skirt

A Few Quick Refashions For My Daugther

I asked my daughter if she would like me to alter a t-shirt for our upcoming vacation. She said ‘Uhm, maybe?’ So I sat her down in front of the computer and showed her some Pinterest ideas. She is very decisive and immediately said ‘I want the lace down the back and can you do ‘that’ to the sleeves?’. She also saw a pair of shorts that she loved. Sometimes the hardest part for her is picking out the materials to be used. She only had one choice for the t-shirt (only lace wide enough) but had multiple for the shorts.

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For the shorts I measure 2″ up and 2″ across the hem in each direction, from the seam. I then added a .5″ seam allowance inside the triangle area, which I used as the cutting edge.

The cutting and folding over lines.

The cutting and folding over lines.

Next was ironing the seam allowance up. I then pinned the lace to the edges and sewed down.

Time to sew it together!

Time to sew it together!

Trimming the lace on the inside is the last step.

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We don’t need any extra lace.

She now has a fun pair of shorts for our vacation. You could use this technique to add any type of fabric you wanted.

Finished and ready to wear.

Finished and ready to wear.

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The t-shirt was a little more involved, but not really any harder. I think she picked this t-shirt because she wouldn’t mind it being ruined if she didn’t like how it turned out. I don’t have the before picture, but I think you can ‘picture’ it.

I placed a small self-healing mat inside the t-shirt to prevent me from pinning the front and back together.

I placed a small self-healing mat inside the t-shirt to prevent me from pinning the front and back together.

I decided to sew the lace to the outside of the t-shirt, I figured the raw edged of the cut lace would look good. It would be even better if you had some extra wide lace that had two finished edges. I centred the lace panel down the back of the t-shirt and pinned into place.

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Whir!

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The three lines of stitching, before the lace is trimmed away.

I sewed the lace to the collar, following the stitch lines. I then used a stretch zigzag between those two stitch line for extra staying power. The extra was trimmed away.

Time to cut up the t-shirt.

Time to cut up the t-shirt.

Starting at the top of the t-shirt, on both sides of the lace panel, I sewed the edges down with the stretch zigzag. I then turned the shirt inside out and cut away that portion of the t-shirt.

Finishing the lace panel.

Finishing the lace panel.

To finish the lace panel, I turned the hem up and using the – you guessed it – stretch zigzag to finish the hem. Trim the excess away.

Measure twice because you only get to cut once.

Measure twice because you only get to cut once.

Time to turn those sleeves into bows.  I picked a point down from the shoulder to cut the sleeve away from the top, on each side. I then made sure that it was the same distance on the other sleeve. After cutting open I sewed the seam down to the shoulder of the top, so no ugly sergered edges would be flopping down.

Hand gathered.

Hand gathered.

This step you can skip, but I roughly hand-gathered the sleeves together. I wanted them to stay put while I was sewing the lace around the gathered front of the sleeve. I overlapped the lace edges and sewed then down on the inside of the sleeves.

Sewing the lace together and to the sleeve.

Sewing the lace together and to the sleeve.

This altered t-shirt is done!

Time for a close-up!

Time for a close-up!

and another...

and another…

I hope she has fun wearing this outfit. I like it so much I might have to make myself one.

lace it up

The Denim Pinterest alteration Challenge

This month we decided that we would base our alterations on denim, and make anything we wanted. I just happened to find a skirt that I thought was fun and decided on that. Just before I started the project I saw a pattern for a skirt that I also thought was fun and voila… a new combo idea was born.

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Always save ideas you like… You never know what they can inspire you to try.

We were out thrift shopping before I started this project so I keep my eyes open for a skirt to use underneath it all. I wanted a plain one with a side zipper, heavy enough to support the denim. Any pattern would have been fine. No luck at all…everything I found would have required a lot of alterations, which I would not have wanted to hide beneath denim.

Having stuck out on that front I decided to make my own simple quick skirt. Using the skirt I made out of a sweater as a template, I traced a pattern onto newspaper. Now another a hard decision, which fabric to use. I decided on an oriental print that I loved but am just not brave enough to wear…until now.

a lot of chopping was done..

a lot of chopping was done..

Chop Chop!! Apart came those jeans into the side section and strips. Lots and lots of strips.

this was embroidered inside the waist band.

this was embroidered inside the waist band.

Inside the waistband the label was so pretty that I ripped the waistband apart to use as the waistband for the skirt. I removed the back pocket or I would have cut right through it. I want at least one back pocket.

Love the oriental fabric and the embroidered flower.

Love the oriental fabric and the embroidered flower.

I sewed the side section of the pants to the skirt and tried it on. Removed the side section and made it bigger. And did it for a third time before it fit. I swear there are some days I should not be allowed downstairs into my room.

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All done sewing. Off kilter pocket…Love the shadow effect.

Time to sew down all those lovely strips. I chose a zigzag using a blue color that  match the embroidered flower on the jeans. I did the waist band first, having the raw edge just a little above the edge of the skirt. After that I sewed down two more strips, stopping at the zipper and the edge of the attached jeans. Time to re-attach the pocket which I sewed down a little lower and off to the side for a shadowed look. Then the rest of the strips, which took a long time. Or sew it seamed. (pun intended)

I used the shorter strips at the top between the zipper and jean side. The longer strips were just long enough to wrap around the skirt. I need two longer strips for the very bottom, which I sewed all the way around, even over the jean side.

Washing Diaster!

Washing Disaster!

The first time I wore it I wasn’t happy with it and I realized that is was because it wasn’t frayed. So I helped fray it manually. Then threw it in the washer. Disaster!!! If I didn’t do something I would have to iron it every time I washed it …..yeah, like that would happen. My solution was to iron all those strips flat again and then sew the edges down. The top and the bottom edges…of each and every strip. Yep, that did take a while.

Flip that hair girl!

Flip that hair girl!

Now I have a fun skirt to wear.

The pockets have little rhinestone on them.

The pockets have little rhinestone on them.

I like it so much better now. Hope this inspires you to have fun with your alterations.

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Quickie Skirt

This skirt is something that I have been meaning to do for a while now…. years actually (color me embarrassed). I even picked up a men’s sweater last year to make it and removed the zipper then. Better late then never.

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One men’s sweater waiting for a new purpose.

I was not trusting my inner force to keep me on the straight and narrow so I used a ruler to draw a line across the sweater, under the underarms. I cut each layer separate and then sergered the cut edges.

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Keeping me on the straight and narrow.

I fitted the sweater to me….

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Guess it was a really large sweater!

and traced a sewing line for the serger.

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ready to be taken in…

The piece that got cut off was used as a template for the other side, so they would match. Then back to the serger.

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Next side, same as the first.

I took the elastic for the waist band, measured to fit me, and sergered that to the top of the skirt. I pinned it in place front, back and sides, and stretched the elastic to the skirt while sergering.

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Almost done the waist band.

Next to the sewing machine and with the stretch zigzag stitch I folded the elastic over and stitched it down.

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Final sew down!!!

Done! Way easy… too easy to come up with excuses as to why it took me soooo long to actually do this refashion. Comfy too.

sweaterskirt