Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Sweater Purse

I found some great blogs about how to make a purse from a sweater and decided to try it for myself.  This sweater was one that I had really liked and when it did that dreadful sweater shrink thing, I decided to save it and remake it into something else.  That and an old belt and a new purse was born.  I didn't take pictures of the process because I didn't think I would be sharing this as a project but it turned out so well that I decided to go ahead and share with links to the blogs that I followed.  The first blog was sarahdudik yellow-sweater-turns-into-a-bag-with-pockets/.  This blog led me to the second blog at lemonsqueezyhome/purse-week-kick-off.  I followed the main idea in both blogs but threw in my own changes.  My purse pieces ended up measuring about 13" x 11".  I used an old belt for the handles and with the little left over piece at the end of the belt I made a closure tab with a snap hammered in.  I'm very happy with how it turned out and can't wait to make some more!  A shot of the lining-I used a fat quarter.
Close up of the handles and closure.
Happy sewing!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sew easy tote-from a skirt and a belt

It's summer, and if you're like me, you really don't have a lot of time for making stuff.  But also, if you're like me, you're prone to "making stuff" withdrawals.  So here is a super easy project that you can whip up in no time.

Step 1.  (and this is the really hard part)  Go thrift store shopping.  Or yard sale-ing.  Or root through your closet.  And find a cute little mini skirt and a belt that no one is wearing.  I've made these using adult size skirts-this tutorial features a child size skirt.  If you go with an adult size, I recommend staying with a small size as the larger sizes tend to get too wide for the length-which will just make your bag very awkward.
Step 2.  Turn the skirt inside out and sew the bottom of the skirt together.  I sewed this seam twice to reinforce it.
Step 3.  (optional)  Sew a triangle at the bottom corners of your bag.  This will help to give it more of a base.
Step 4.  Prepare your belt.  I had to take a seam ripper to mine to take it apart and remove the hardware.  (Save the hardware, you can use it in another project.)
         Then, I cut my belt in half.
Step 5.  Pin your new handles to your bag.  Usually I carefully measure everything.  Today I just eyeballed it and pinned them in place.
        Sew the handles in place and you are done!  Wasn't that super easy?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Yellow Polka Dots Summer Scarf

Have you ever started one of those projects that just seemed to be jinxed?  No matter what you do or how easy/hard the project is, it just doesn't want to happen and all you really want to do is shove it in a drawer and forget that you ever tried.  For some reason this scarf was one of those projects for me.  It's really not that difficult to make but I think I crocheted the thing 3 times with all the pulling out stitches and redoing I had to do.  But I promised all of you that I was working on a summery scarf pattern so I persisted and here it finally is.  My sincere apologies for it taking so long.  (In other news this is my modeling debut and also my self photography debut. :D)

Here is what you will need.

Yarn: I used a little over 2 skeins of 100% cotton sport weight yarn that were 2 1/4 oz. each.
Hook:  Size G

Chain 41.
R1:  1 dc in 7'th ch, *ch 1, 1 dc in 2nd ch, repeat from *, 1dc in last ch, ch 3, turn.
R2:  3 dc in 1st dc of previous row, * 1dc in 2nd dc, ch 1, dc in next dc, ch 1, dc in next dc, 7 dc in 2nd dc, repeat from *.  4 dc in turning ch, ch 3, turn.
R3:  Work 3 dc together in the 2nd and next 2 dc, *ch 3, dc in next dc, ch 1, dc in next dc, ch 1, dc in next dc, ch 3, work 7 dc together in the next 7 dc, repeat from *, work 3 dc in next 3 dc, 1 dc in turning ch, ch 4, turn.
R4.  *1 dc in ch 3 space, ch 1, 1 dc in next dc, ch 1, 1 dc in next dc, ch 1, 1 dc in next dc, ch 1, 1 dc in ch 3 space, ch 1, 1 dc in top of 7 dc worked together, ch 1, repeat from *, 1 dc in turning ch, ch 4, turn.
R5:  Skip 1'st dc, *dc in next dc, ch 1, repeat from *, 1 dc in turning ch, ch 4, turn.
R6.  1 dc in 2nd dc, *7 dc in the 2nd dc, 1 dc in the 2nd dc, ch 1, 1 dc in the next dc, ch 1, 1 dc in the next dc, ch 1, repeat from *, 1 dc in turning ch, ch 4, turn.
R7:  1 dc in 2nd dc, *ch 3, work 7 dc together in next 7 dc, ch 3, 1dc in next dc, ch 1, 1 dc in next dc, ch 1, 1dc in next dc, repeat from *, 1 dc in turning ch, ch 4, turn.
R8:  dc in 2nd dc, *ch 1, dc in ch 3 space, ch 1, 1 dc in top of 7 dc worked together, ch 1, 1 dc in ch 3 space, ch 1, 1 dc in next dc, ch 1, 1 dc in next dc, ch 1, 1 dc in next dc, repeat from *, 1 dc in turning ch, ch 3, turn.
Repeat R2-8 17 times.
Repeat R2-7 1 time.
Stitch 1 row of sc evenly all around the outside edge of the scarf, remembering to add an extra stitch at the corners to prevent bunching, slip stitch to first sc, and finish off.
Weave in all of the ends, trim, and done.

If you want to work this in a different yarn or would like a different width, the foundation chain is any number divisible by 12, plus 5.  To change length repeat R1-8 until desired length is reached.  (I skipped row 8 on the final repeat so that the ending rows and the beginning rows would match.)

Second attempt at modeling.  :)

P.S.  I have been known to make mistakes.  If you should find any feel free to let me know in the comments.  Thanks!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Black and White Floral Skirt

I super love this skirt!  And even better, it was incredibly easy to make.  The whole project, from drawing out the pattern to finish only took me a couple of hours.

(To all my crochet friends, I had intended to finish the new summery scarf I am working on and post that today, but this skirt just sort of happened.  I promise, the scarf is almost done and will be appearing soon!)

Back to the skirt.  How about a few pictures of  how this skirt began.

 I found this skirt at the thrift store and while I love it for itself, I thought it would also be super easy to copy and make more skirts.  I could have just laid the skirt on my fabric and cut around but I decided I wanted to go ahead and make a paper pattern.  (Side note, I save packing paper, flatten it out, and use it to make patterns.  Had to tape a few pieces together here to get the right shape but its less messy to work with than newspaper.)

After drawing around the skirt, I added 5/8" to every side for the seam allowance.  Actually, I also added an extra inch to the bottom, I decided that I liked it slightly longer.  For the straight sides, it's pretty easy to add the extra, just lay your see through ruler on the line at the correct mark and draw.  For the curved sides, my method is to measure out from the curve at numerous points and make a dot.  Then, just connect the dots and you have your new line.

Next, I cut the pattern out and folded it in half.  Then I trimmed it so that both sides matched.  Unfold and pattern done!

I bought this beautiful scarf/shawl at a discount store for $1.  I loved the fabric and knew that it would be perfect for a skirt.

Fold fabric in half, place pattern, and cut it out. 

Next I decided that it would be better if  I lined the skirt.  My first choice for lining would have been black but white is what I had on hand so white it is.

And here is what you will need to make this skirt.  Two pieces (1 front and 1 back) of skirt fabric, two pieces of lining fabric, one 7" zipper, twill tape (optional, I ended up not using it), and thread.

I also saved the care label from the scarf to sew into the skirt side seam, which of course I forgot to do until I was done, so I sewed it onto the side seam of the lining.

To mark where the side seam should stop for the zipper, lay the zipper on the skirt and pin the skirt at the point where the zipper teeth stop.  Do this on both the skirt and the lining.  

Now sew up all the side seams, using 5/8" seams.

Next, press all the side seams.  At the zipper openings, continue to press 5/8" up each side to the top.

On the skirt, sew in the zipper.  (I am by no means an expert on zippers, so that is all I am going to say here.  If your zipper came in a package, refer to it for the proper method on how to install a zipper.)

And now it's time to sew the skirt and lining together.  Turn the lining inside out and the skirt right side out, and place the skirt inside of the lining,  In other words, the skirt and lining will be right sides together.  Pin, being sure to open out the pressed edges of the lining.  Stitch together with a 5/8" seam.

Here I debated a little about what I wanted to do.  I decided instead of trimming the waist seam and adding the twill tape (for stability), I would leave the seam allowance, skip the tape, and clip the curves.

Turn everything right side out and press the waist seam.

Then, top stitch about 1/4" from top edge.

 Now for the part that I dislike the most.  Turn under lining along the zipper and hand stitch in place.  We are almost done!

 I'm doing a simple rolled hem.  For the skirt, 1/4" and for the lining slightly wider (just to make sure the lining doesn't peek out from under the skirt).  To make a rolled hem, simply turn up, and then turn up again.  You could press it all in place before you start stitching it, my fabric was pretty easy to work with so I just turned it up as I stitched.

Press the hem smooth and you are done!

Since this skirt only cost me about $3 to make, I decided to go one step further and see what kind of inexpensive outfit I could pull together from items in my closet.
Hmmm, how about this cute shirt I found at Target for $3?

 And these black and white flipflops I found on clearance at Dollar General, also for $3.  And staying with the black and white theme, this bracelet that I made many moons ago.

 So, for around $10, I've got a cute summer outfit!  What do all of  you think?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Super Simple Chain and Bead Necklace

This has got to be one of the easiest necklaces I have ever made.  I found the chain and really liked it but it was an odd length-about 12 inches long plus a clasp and extender chain. I decided to cut it in half and add a beaded center part.
1.  Cut chain in half.
2.  String beads of your choice onto beading wire to create a 6 1/4'' length.  I used 8 6mm metal beads and 14 10mm x 5mm oval glass beads.
3.  Add a crimp bead to one end, loop wire around bottom link of one side of chain, pass back through crimp bead, crimp, and trim. Repeat for other side.

Ta da!  We just made a super simple necklace that measures about 18" in length.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Basic Denim Patchwork Tote with Applique

Hello all, today we are going to make a very useful tote from some not so useful anymore jeans.

First you will need to cut 8 squares of denim.  I cut mine 7" square, which resulted in a 12' square bag, with 1/2" seam allowances.
Then lay out your squares.
 Stitch together, press open seam allowances and topstitch 1/8" from each side of seam.  The topstitching accomplishes a couple of things here, it reinforces the seams, helps the seams lay neater since this bag is not lined inside, and adds a little more detail.  I choose to topstitch mine with pink thread to complement my applique.
You would think that pink thread on blue denim would show up better but no.  Squint real hard, maybe you will be able to see it. :)
Now to add the bird applique.  You can find the pattern here. bird applique
Cut one of the body and one of the wing.

First, using a zigzag stitch, stitch the wing to the body.  Like so.
Then, zigzag stitch the body to the bag.  When placing the bird on the bag, keep in mind that you will "lose" about an inch from the bottom of the bag.  (This happens after adding the corner gussets to create a base for the bag.)
After the bird is all stitched on, find a button for his eye and stitch that on.  (For some reason I always wait to do this last. But go ahead, save yourself a lot of pain and suffering and do it now.)

Next, stitch the bottom seam, press, and topstitch.  Then stitch the side seams.

Now we need to make a gusset to help give the tote a bottom.  With the bag wrong side out, line up the side seam to the bottom seam to create a triangle, pin, and mark 1" from the outside edge.  Here's a picture to help.
Stitch the line that you marked.  Turn it right side out to make sure that everything stayed lined up, then back to wrong side out to trim  the bulk of the "triangle" away.  Then back to right side out.

Turn under about 1/2" inch on top side of bag and hem.

Now cut two strips of denim that measure about 4"x27".  Press the strips in half long ways, then fold in from each side to meet the first press, and press.  It should look like this.
Fold it all together and topstitch down each side of handle about 1/4" from edge.

Now, at the top of the bag, measure in 1 1/2" from each side seam and place a pin.  I'm going to call this a "pin fence".  Normally I would say measure and pin the handle to the bag, but that many layers of denim is awful thick to pin through.  So, I make a pin fence and hold the handle in place while I stitch it.
There are a couple of methods you could use to attach the handle.  I choose to simply stitch over the hem stitching, going back and forth a couple of times.

And that's it.  Now you can go shopping with your brand new tote!

I plan on adding some more applique patterns in the future so keep watching for them. :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Fun Summer Sleepwear

I have had it up to here with the scraps!  Ironically, that's how high the scraps are still piled.  I decided it was time for a different project and with the coming of warm weather, I decided to try making some summer sleepwear.

Someone was cleaning out their sewing supplies and gave me this pattern. Someone else was cleaning out their supplies and gave me this fabric.  Someone else was cleaning out their supplies and gave me this lace....is anyone noticing a trend here?
I decided to make the short version.   I want to make it once and see how it fits, because I think with a few adjustments, I could also use it to make a cute summer blouse.  We'll try that out sometime later.
First, cut everything out.  Do you see that layout diagram that came with your pattern?  With some careful planning, you can probably completely disregard it and lay out the pattern to use less fabric.  My pattern called for 1 7/8 yards but I was able to cut it from 1 2/3 yards.
It's important to get your pattern properly lined up on the grainline of the fabric.  To do this, measure from each end of the grainline line on the pattern to the edge of the selvage.  The two measurements should be the same.  Like so.
I decided that I wanted the lining of my bottoms to be knit.  So I dug around in my scraps *sigh*, and found something that would work.
Don't forget to transfer the pattern markings to the fabric!
Now let's sew.  Since your pattern will probably be different than mine, I'm not going to walk you through the whole thing step by step, but show you some things that I did differently than the original pattern.

 I started with the bottoms.  I think the first steps were the hardest, which was sewing the bottom of the bottoms.  (That's a lot of bottoms.)
Done!  The next thing I did was run into a problem.  When I tried to turn up the casing for the leg, the fabric just didn't have enough give in it.  See what I mean?
So, I trimmed it and sewed a 1/4" hem.  Then I cut lace elastic to length and sewed it to the outside, stretching slightly as I sewed.
Much cuter anyway!  All done with the bottoms.
Now on to the top!  The pattern called for the sleeve ruffle to be cut from lace eyelet fabric.  But I didn't have any.  Just lots of eyelet lace.  So I improvised.  I laid the lace on to the top to simulate the curve of the ruffle and pinned it into place.  I had a picture of this but it seems that my computer ate it.  Here is a picture of it after I sewed it and before I trimmed it.
And a picture from the right side.
The next thing I did differently was to topstitch around the neckline in place of understitching and along the sleeve openings in place of blindstitching.  It's much easier and I like the look of topstitching.
I also topstiched the lower edge of the bodice in place of blindstitching.
And here it is.  All done and ready for sweet dreams.