Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Shirt Refashion/Ruffle Top 1

So I absolutely love a lot of tutorials for ruffle tops I’ve seen on some of my favorite sewing blogs. This is just the first variation I was able to try. The main tutorial I used is from the homemade by jill blog, and this tutorial too from Make it and Love it
So I took a shirt I liked the fit of and traced around it, I used the back of some Christmas wrapping paper…worked awesome by the way. (Next time I’ll leave even more room for seams, etc). Just turn inside out, and tuck the sleeves inside to trace.
(I apologize, the lighting in the pictures is terrible, it was dark of night.)IMG_2202IMG_2203
This was the original shirt. XXL and really drapey.
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This is the shirt laid out flat. Lots of material to work with.IMG_2204Then, I cut all the seams apart. And then I used the pattern pieces I made earlier to cut out the parts of the shirt.  Sew side and shoulder seams
With the sleeves sewn in. IMG_2210
Time for the ruffle part!  I used elastic thread. You hand wind the elastic thread onto the bobbin, and use regular thread for the top thread in your machine. Then just run a straight stitch down the middle of your fabric.
I cut two widths (1 & 3/4 inch and 1 inch) of fabric from the leftovers I trimmed off the original shirt. Then I layered the wider one underneath the narrower strip and fed them through my sewing machine.
And it was like magic, seriously. Perfectly spaced ruffles came out the other side!   So much easier than basting, pulling threads, having those threads snap, sewing it again, and then spreading to out evenly.
Then I sewed the ruffle to the neckline, and viola!IMG_2216
Here’s me wearing it on Thanksgiving!
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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Silk Flower Pin

I found this beautiful silk in the remnant bin at WalMart for about $.50 for each color.  I’ve seen these silk flowers on blogs and this etsy shop. They are pretty easy to make, a tutorial for organza flowers, but basically the same process,

IMG_0469Step 1- Cut out circles of silk. Big, small, smaller, smaller.

Step 2- Burn the edges of of the silk circle. I used a candle, you don’t have to get too close, the heat from the flame will melt the edge. This will seals the edges and keeps them from fraying and it curls the edges in like a ruffly petal.  IMG_0464


Step 3- Layer the silk circles.

Step 4- Sew the layers together. Sewing on a bead like you would a button.  I used invisible/clear thread. Not the easiest to work with, but since I’m not a very accurate hand sewer I like how it hides my mistakes and gives a nice finish.

 Step 5- Then I flipped it over and sewed on a pin back. Could also have hot glued it on. IMG_0475

Turned out pretty good. I’d like to make a pin with a cluster of a few, or a headband with a line of them. And I’ve still got the gold silk to try out. I’d also like to make something like this tutorial. IMG_0479


Since I got my sew machine (yeah that is a “sewing” machine for the rest of you. My husband thinks I’m crazy for calling it that, but this weekend I heard my mom refer to her sew machine)…So, since I got my sew machine, I’ve been gearing up to attempt sewing clothes, for myself. That intimidates me. But sewing your own clothes seems like a great way to be frugal- and get the fit and style just the way you like it.

Anyway, I went to the fabric store and I was surprised that 1 yard of fabric costs as much as a store bought shirt. Hummphff. It didn’t used to be that way. I always thought my mom sewed for us because she was being thrifty. I asked my mom and she said that these days almost all fabric is made cheaper in other countries and then imported here to the states. So, prices have gone up and up. But you can still find good fabric deals though.

I don’t want to by expensive fabric just to mess it up on my first attempts at clothing construction. I’m not a pro. Its just a hobby, and not one I want to sink tons of money into all the time.

So my solution? Refashioning. There are some great blogs about refashioning, some listed to the right. Anyway, I’m inspired by other bloggers who shop at thrift stores, mend, tweak, and embellish, making wonderful things out of their super inexpensive finds.

IMG_2171So I looked at a few stores and didn’t find anything promising. Then I stopped in at Old Navy. Checked out their clearance, they have great clearance. But never the right sizes, either xxxlarge or xxxsmall. I figured I could take in a few things if I got them big enough. So I had tons of selections of XXL shirts perfect for some cutting and resewing projects.

And It just so happened that Old Navy was having an extra 50% off all clearance. Awesome for me, since clearance was all I was interested in.

I got 8 shirts for $13.42, Original price= $114.00.

I’ve only had time to refashion one, but I’ve got a lot of ideas for the rest.

Christmas Came Early




I didn’t wrap it up or put it under the tree or open it up on Christmas morning, but part of my Christmas was this rotary cutter set.

Thank you Santa/Stodd

Yay! I love it!

Patchwork Belt

I made this fabric belt, after reading this blog and this blog. Mine turned out…meh. So maybe I’ll try it again sometime and make it more sturdy.

Appliqué Onesie

IMG_0230This little onesie went with the baby booties I posted below, for my niece Caelen.
I have a lot to learn about appliqué, it was harder than I expected. It seems so easy, but it was tricky for me to get everything to lay right, and to get the stitching nice and even.

Again, a project that I want to try again.

Some sites that have great tips and instructions: 

Baby Booties


I made these sweet baby booties for my niece Caelen when she was born. I used this easy tutorial, a pdf with instructions and pattern. They did turn out a little big for a newborn, but the pattern did seem to be easily resizable.

Perfect Fabric Headbands

CIMG1122This is a project I did a while back, and I’ve made it a few times. I made this fabric headband using this tutorial. I like wide headbands, but i have a sensitive head, and I can't stand the way regular headbands pinch behind the ears. With this pattern, its a soft comfortable alternative. And I can make it just the right size for my smaller than normal head (I have to buy kids glasses and sunglasses).

I think I should make a few more.

Freezer Paper Stencils

I've been wanting to try this forever. I saw this fun craft all over blogs.
Verdict: I loved it and am going to be doing a lot more of it!
More instructions, another great tutorial, this blog, and another!
And you can Google and get a ton more.
Oh and hey if one happened to be a proud owner of a circuit, you could make some amazing stencils!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Straightener Travel Pouch

So if you have a hair IMG_0278straightener, or a curling iron, you know they can be a pain to pack. They get super hot, and take a long time to cool down. And you can’t just throw them in your suitcase that way. Which can be really frustrating if you’re in a hurry, and you’re waiting on just that to cool down. You may have attempted to cool it down by running it under water. But a good straightener is too dear and pricey to chance ruining it! (plus then it just drips on everything in your suitcase.

So I made a travel pouch for mine, using a potholder. Really cheap and easy, here’s how.

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IMG_0275  IMG_0277

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hello World

Well, I wanted to start a blog to showcase my sewing, crafts, etc. So here it goes. But you should know, I’m a beginner in pretty much any craft I try.

My parents gave me a sew machine last year for Christmas. And I felt a little silly accepting it, I didn’t sew, didn’t know if I wanted to learn, or if I could. I had sewn a little growing up, a simple apron, or a few quilt tops. But my mom, who is an excellent seamstress, was always there to rescue me when after a stitch of two I’d look up panic stricken asking “now what!”.
But I went home, and started reading sewing blogs, and how-to sites. And I got excited!

But I suffer from acute-craft-hesitation, I have so many projects that I want to do, I’ve got lists and lists of ideas. I’ve got the time. I have most of the materials, or could gather them up easily. But its like staring at a blank page, not being able to make the first mark. Eek, once you cut that fabric, its over, especially when you only have just enough to make it work.

I’m a student, and a wife of a student. I don’t have a big budget. So I love crafts that refashion and reuse.

I’ve attempted a few things, with varying degrees of success. Sometimes I get frustrated, throw my hands up, and the project ends up in a heap that I swear I’ll come back to eventually. But a few projects have turned out pretty good, and I use or wear them all the time.

I hope having this site will help me to get over my hesitation and get to creating and show and telling!  I appreciate all comments too!

Check out my favorite inspiration blogs listed on the side!

And if we’re friends or family let me know {email me: ellendavenport(at)ymail(dot)com}, and I can send you an invitation to my private personal blog.