Thursday, January 28, 2016

Ain't Yo Momma's Jean Skirt

A couple of weeks ago, I was introduced to the free PDF patterns on the Lekala Sewing Patterns website. Upon perusal, I came across this gem of a skirt:

 Swirls and twirls!!! I needed it in my life immediately.

 So, I embarked on my very first PDF pattern journey. The process of printing out this pattern was pretty simple since it is only 2 pattern pieces, and I traced it on to some end of roll newsprint paper to add the seam allowances. I was patting myself on the back the whole time and thinking that I was such a badass for conquering my fear of PDF patterns.
 Funny story, though....As I was putting together a wearable muslin out of some quilting cotton in my stash, I had gotten into such a blissful sewing groove that I forgot to fit the skirt until I was just about finished.
 D'Oh! When I finally tried it on, the waist was WAY TOO BIG! I mean, like, 4+ inches too big. Whoops. It turns out that my late-night internet surfing resulted in mixing up measurements and creating a PDF pattern for a MUCH, MUCH larger waist than I needed. Yikes.
 Measuring ensued, the pattern was marked up with my changes, and the muslin skirt was taken in as much as possible.  It is still too big for me, but I'm okay with letting this one go. It was just a practice skirt, after all.
The final product, on the other hand, came together like a dream. Well, a weird, crazy dream where you are on a train that follows tracks through space, or something... 
 You see, I don't buy denim yardage. I buy thrift store jeans, or use old, unworn jeans for my denim projects. What that means, is that I had to cut up 4 pair of jeans and sew them together in order to make panels that I could cut this pattern out of. I dealt with different denim colors, weights, and grains. Super loads of fun.
 In the end, though, recycling the denim meant that I could create a sort of ombre effect, which turned out beautifully on the finished skirt.
So fun, right!?!? The waist could come in a tad more, but everything else is perfect. I love that the denim creates a stiffer hem that feels like one of those bell gowns, and I could just twirl in this thing all day. I am excited to add this all-season, versatile skirt to my wardrobe this year.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Boys Don't Cry Birthday Bag

 A couple of months ago, a friend that I work with told me that she was going to a Cure concert this year. Obviously, my first reaction was, "Are they still touring!?!? How old is Robert Smith??" But, after getting over the shock of knowing that a band that I loved in high school is still around, I remembered that I had a few Cure T-Shirts (circa 1990's) hanging out in the bottom of my stash. I kind of filed it away in my brain as a future project, but then I found out that her birthday is this month and decided to get to making something for her.
 I have this messenger bag pattern that I have made many, many, many times because it is easy to customize and quick to sew. I actually whipped one up for myself over the holiday since it is a convenient bag to sling over a mountain of winter wear.
 I added homemade piping for the very first time, and extended the strap attachment for additional support and a super cool sporty look.
 I had some initial trouble deciding on a coordinating fabric for this t-shirt, but my Facebook Stashbusting group came to the rescue. They suggested that I use the hand-dyed yellow cotton that I showed them since it was being used for the lining, and lighter colors make it easier to see the stuff in your bag. You can't see the lining in these pics, but I also used the fabric on the underside of the strap.
 Speaking of the strap, the top side is made from some flannel-backed vinyl that I bought for my son's Invention Convention project last year (Cellphone Gauntlet - in case you were wondering), and I am so glad that I found a project to use up the bulk of that fabric that has been sitting - forgotten - on my shelf! As you can see from this picture without the front flap, I used the vinyl on the bottom of the bag as well:
Have we had enough of the terrible cell phone pictures on this blog? Maybe I should quit being a lazy and pull out my nice camera from now on. 

I really hope that my friend likes the gift. I always get really insecure about gifting things that I have made to people that don't understand the care and effort that goes into it. But, if nothing else, at least it is thoughtful - right?

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Cold Weather Cap

 Wyoming is a state of weather extremes. In the summer it can get ridiculously hot (think desert), and in the winter it is often frigidly cold (we are not strangers to negative numbers on the thermometer). So, when I came across this McCall's pattern last winter-ish, I thought I could sew up something that would keep the heat from escaping my head while also looking stylish!
 Of course, style is in the eye of the beholder, and I have never sewn this pattern before, so I chose some flannel and felt that had been languishing in my stash for awhile and that I wouldn't miss if this turned in to a disaster.
 Fortunately, I have sewn hats in the past and was comfortable with the pattern pieces provided with this design. I have never actually made a cap style before, but it is not so different from sun hat construction. One additional effort that I made for this project was to actually hand sew the lining in. HAND-SEWN, you guys! I'm pretty proud of myself.
 The shape came together beautifully even though I only interfaced the flannel. I thought that the felt had enough body to stand on its own. I was right, I think.
 The button accessories are one of the features that I liked most about this pattern, so I dove in to my neutral color button stash joyfully. I really need to sew more items with buttons because the picture below only represents about 10% of my total button inventory.
 The instructions said to use a covered button for the top of the cap, but I found this beautiful faux-wood-grain button that was too glorious to pass up.
 The side buttons are more of a pearlescent tiger's eye design.
 I love the orange bio-hazard look on the top of that hat.
 The front is pretty boring, but the scorpions give it a little pizzazz.
 Those side buttons are so super cute on this!
The fit on this is perfect (I mean, how hard is it to measure a head??), but I have no pictures of me wearing it. I almost think that this cap could be worn by either my son or myself, so this will be a valuable addition to our winter gear. Also, I'm thinking my family may be getting sick of knit hats and scarves for Christmas, so maybe caps for next year!?!?