Thursday, June 30, 2011

Well, That Was Interesting

It's been over a week since I last posted, so I had a block of time yesterday to finish up another UFO, AND actually blog about it.  Only Blogger wasn't playing fair.

I did have it finished yesterday, I really did.  I just couldn't tell anyone about it!  (LOL!)

I have a couple of reasons why I hadn't posted for so long (and for why I do not have more finished projects), but they are pretty lame, all things considered.

First and foremost, The Sewing Assistant took over my sewing chair.

This may look like a sewing chair.  In reality, it is
actually a very expensive cat bed.
Could have fooled me.
Seems like he is psychic, sometimes.  Whenever I would start towards my sewing machine, there he was, climbing over the piano, through the cutout archway, over my machine, and curling up on my chair.  Emphasis on MY chair.  But that doesn't fly with the SuperChunk.  He'd move when it was Food O'Clock, but then I would be in the kitchen working on preparing his evening repast and taking short orders for whatever combination of teenage boys happened to be in the house at the time.  So our schedules were sort of out of sync, as far as getting any work done.  

But it probably was a good thing anyway, since I was clumsy enough last weekend to do this:

Fancy splint, hey?  I don't even have a good story to tell.  I was just.....walking.  On a perfectly level sidewalk.

Yay, me.

It was a little scary navigating through all my UFOs in my workroom with an unstable ankle, so I decided to take a few days off from sewing and let The Sewing Assistant have his designated spot du jour.  

But I was going crazy.  I must have read through about 10 sewing/crafting books and magazines in very short order.  Whenever I do that, I get hyper, have a hundred working ideas spinning around in my head, and want to drop everything and start letting the creative muse take over.  Normally, this happens right before bedtime (I know, I'm wired backwards).  Crafting books and magazines and I should never come within two rooms' distance from each other at that time of night.  It ought to be a law or something.  

This was in broad daylight, though.  Couldn't get out much, couldn't do much moving around, car was in the shop (that's a story for another day), couldn't take it anymore.  

Before:  Stretchy knit dress from the Assistance League

I'll be the first to admit my figure has gone the way of the dinosaurs - well hidden by layers and layers of time.  There was no way I could pull off a look like this anymore.  It even looked embarrassing on the dress form, and it doesn't have all the added padding that I do in certain places, nor does it have those.....upper arms.  If you are of a certain age, you know of what I speak.  But the fabric was lovely, bright, stretchy and forgiving and it had potential.  And it was only about $3.00.  


Right now my dress form is cringing.  She really
does not like being photographed bottomless.

Since I did most of the chopping while on the dress form, it was a bit on the uneven side.
Off to the cutting table to remedy the situation.
I love my rotary cutter.

And what to do with the excess fabric?  Why, make some sleeves to cover those....
upper arms.
What the hey, someone else already did the work - why not use the hem at the bottom
of the dress for the hems of the sleeves?

Here you can see the hems of the newly cut sleeves a little more clearly.

I decided not to unpick the hems of the original sleeveless openings - I knew I was going to have to fine-tune the fit of the newer sleeves into the armholes, so why risk having the fabric run while I was working on the fit?  The pattern I was using claimed that it was "close-fitting," so I decided to go by the pattern envelope sizing chart and used the size that was supposed to fit properly.  

Note to self:  never, ever trust the pattern companies.  

I should know that already.  I had had a severe disappointment using a previous "close-fitting" pattern in my customary size, only to have it turn out like a sausage casing.  Using very expensive knit fabric.  Bummed doesn't even BEGIN to cover it.  Someone really lucked out while shopping at the Assistance League (my treat).  So this time, I figured I'd best cut this one a bit larger from the new pattern, just in case.

This time, however, the opposite problem occurred.  The sleeve was overly large and flapped around like laundry on a clothesline.  

Note to pattern companies:  WOULD YOU PLEASE BE MORE CONSISTENT?  Thank you. 

Yeah, right.  Like that's ever going to happen.  How silly.  After about a half an hour of trimming, testing, trimming some more, and finally setting in the sleeves, the shirt was done.

After a bit of finessing, much better results!  
I played around with some extra fabric at the bottom of the dress form, just so she wouldn't feel so exposed.  I think my next project might be to cover the form completely for a more finished look.  If only my UFO list weren't so long already......

Thursday, June 23, 2011

One More Down

One more UnFinished Object - goes over to the Finished Side!

Finished Handbag!

Antique look button trim

Home Dec fabric:  Joann Fabric and Craft Store
Lining:  Black cotton, with inset zipper pocket, snap closure
Contrast Straps and Patches:  Embossed Faux Leather, Jenny's Fabrics
Antique style button:  Joann Fabric and Craft Store
Approximate size:  10" x 12", not counting strap
See and Sew Pattern B4271

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Ha. It's Done.

Kept looking at that black and white checked shirt I refashioned the other day, thinking that it still needed a little something more.

I went through my stash and found two remnants that would coordinate, and also used a strip that I had cut off the bottom of the blouse.  I cut each of them into a strip about 22" long by about 2 or 3 inches wide.  Then I rolled them up diagonally, starting at one corner, using the tutorial I found here.  I put a spot of glue at that corner to keep it from unraveling, then put a spot of glue every couple of inches or so until I got to the end, then put a spot of glue at the final corner.  (In case you were wondering, I used Crafter's Pick Ultimate.  I would have used my Beacon Fabri-Tac, but it had dried up.  Same with the bottle of Mend-It that my boss had given me about a month ago.  And that one had never even been opened.)

Top: black velour
Middle: scrap from the blouse
Bottom: a scrap that came with a bunch of freebies at a sewing/crafting sale

After the glue was dry, I started coiling up the rolls and stitching at the bottom, while putting in a fold every quarter turn.

After that, I stitched the end of the coil under the finished piece and voila - roses!

 Shabby Chic Roses!  My camera still hates this black
 and white check fabric - it can't tell where to focus!

Added some beads and some lace "leaves" - you can't see the beads
on the black rose or the checked one in this photo - the grey
patterned fabric was hogging the camera's focus.

Here's a shot of the finished blouse - looks much better with a new focal point by the tie.  You can't see it in the photo but I also added an inner tie to help stabilize the front.

(Note to self:  in the future, photograph the finished tops with some kind of skirt or pants.  The mannequin's bottom looks a little weird, there.)

This will fit a woman's size medium (10-12).  Let me know if you are interested.

Friday, June 17, 2011

It's Hard to Craft When You're Hurting

Love doing flowers.  Just don't love the way I feel after doing these large arrangements for the church.  

This week's arrangement didn't turn out exactly the way I had envisioned it at the floral wholesaler - but maybe by Sunday the pink flowers at the top will have opened up a bit more so it looks a little....lighter.

The whole arrangement

The dahlias that started it all - aren't they delicious?

Don't know the name of these particular flowers,
but aren't they a bit Tim Burton-esque? LOL!

Forgot the name of these flowers - they were the priciest
out of everything I bought today - including the dahlias!

I was going for an understated look.  When I stepped back to judge how things were taking shape, though, I realized that it wasn't quite what I had planned in my head.

Oh, well.  I'm just hoping the pastor isn't going to get weirded out by those Alice In Wonderland creations at the top.

Now I need to go lie down so my back stops screaming at me.  Lifting that heavy soaked Oasis floral foam is a killer, not to mention the umpteen times I have to bend over to cut and insert at floor level.  So any more crafting today is a bit out of the question.

I liked how my black and white checked shirt came out the other day, but it still needs a little something on the side (literally) - I think I'll take advantage of this forced time-out today to make up some specialties and post the finished project tomorrow.  And maybe make a list of the UFOs that I would dearly love to have done by the end of this month - think tacking it to my forehead would help my motivation?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Three Days

Three days.  That's how long I had my latest migraine.  Ugh.  Certainly puts a damper on being creative, I'll tell you.

Still working on the parfait t-shirt - that one should definitely be finished by tomorrow.  I was just sitting here at the computer and glanced over at another shirt that was gifted to me by a friend for makeover purposes - all of a sudden I had a flash of inspiration - and I knew I could knock this one out pretty quick.

The Before - a black and white plaid shirt, size 1x, shirred in the front with elastic thread:
LOL!  My camera does NOT like this black and white print!
Getting started:  first, try and figure out what I'm going to do with this shirt.

Hmm...this looks promising.
Going to need quite a bit taken in on the sides.

Taking some darts in the back to make it more fitted.
And off comes the button plackets and the collar.

Looking better already!

Trimmed about three inches off the bottom of the shirt, and about the same on both cuffs.  Then it's time for new hems!

Sewing it down. 
Did a little creative cutting & stitching,
and it became ties for the front & side.
Remember the three inches I cut
off the bottom of the shirt?

Add some lace I bought at the Assistance League Store for a whole dollar, and voila!  A new shirt!

And in case you were wondering, the Sewing Assistant was there to help every step of the way:

What?  Pretty white danglies not for me?

Friday, June 10, 2011

I'm Working. Really I am.

Work in progress.  Slow, but when you have days like today, maybe that's better all the way around.

Funny thing is, this isn't the shirt I started.  I cut the neck and the cuffs off the green turtleneck first:

Hey there, remember me?
Same shirt, different lighting.

I decided I probably wouldn't wear the green one first, so yesterday I had to steal another turtleneck off the pile because somebody (I'm not saying WHO) was sleeping on all of them.  

Would you try to pull one out from under this guy?  Me, neither.  I value my hand.

I thought I would wear the dark rose colored one first anyway, so that's the one I swiped while the Sewing Assistant was otherwise occupied.  I cut the collar and cuffs off of it. Then I started playing around with designs.  (I'd show you my design drawings, but then I'd have to shoot you.  You know, in case you blabbed to Oscar de la Renta or something like that.)  Once I started pulling out knit fabrics I've collected, I noticed a strange phenomena:  I kept changing my mind about how I wanted to refashion the shirt.  Well, maybe that's not so strange.  I'm sure other artists and craftspeople do the same thing.  But there is such a thing as too many choices.  This looks good with this....but wait, this one looks even better....but what if I do this?  I pulled out a lovely remnant that will actually tie in both the colors of the dark rose & the pink turtlenecks, so I scrapped my original plans for both of those shirts and set them aside to think about.  Then I picked up a t-shirt that I bought for about $3 at a Kohl's clearance sale last year....found an inspiration pic in my file....a couple of dollar store t-shirts.....some lovely brown jersey knit I bought in a remnant bin for about 25 cents.....

The inpiration shirt (Anthropologie)
The bits and pieces....

...and I was off and running.  Well, except for getting called in to work yesterday.  And then driving to Long Beach today to deposit the check, a check from another client, and the cash my son finally paid me that he owed me.  And that little errand cost me most of today - there was a terrible accident on the freeway coming home, and the entire southbound side was shut down.  I was grouchy because the bank wouldn't cash the paycheck from the sign shop (long story), my son was with me in the car and neither of us had eaten, I needed to use the ladies' room and it didn't look like we'd be moving any time soon, my son realized that we weren't going to make it home in time for him to go to his music class, etc.  Grumpy, grumpy, grumpy. 

We decided to go to the movies about an hour or so later, because it sounded like a good way to wind down.  Not wanting to take the freeway again (in case they still hadn't gotten it cleared), I went up the street.  And would you believe it?  There was another accident.  And the traffic in front of us just.  Wasn't.  Moving.  We finally gave up when we were still sitting two blocks from the house, the movie was miles and miles away and had already started, and my son said "Let's just go home."

By the time we finally made it there, all my creative energy was sapped.  So this is all I've gotten done so far on this shirt that I was so excited about yesterday:

One sleeve and part of the torso of the new shirt.  

Yes, I know.  I should have cropped the photo.  Just not up to it, even though doing this little bit of sewing helped me not to feel so grouchy anymore.  And boy, do I need to make a new cover for this little ironing board......

But not until I finish this shirt.  Tomorrow.  

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Thanks a Lot, Bub

Doing some research (means browsing through my inspiration file on my computer) for the ex-turtlenecks I'm refashioning.  When I finally hit on a plan for at least the first four, I head out to the living room to start trimming and creating and......

Now just wait a gosh darned minute!

Notice how he is "hugging" the shirts.  Think I want to go there?  That's Claw-ville!

Just in case you were still wondering.  MINE.

I managed to sneak one out from under him when he moved to see what my husband was eating.  When he realized he wasn't going to get any, he pouted, shrugged, and went back to sleep on the pile again.  But at least I have one shirt I can get started with tonight.

Some of my planned inspirations:

 He's still sleeping on the pile.  That leaves me with just this one ex-turtleneck for now.  I'll post the After photos tomorrow.

I can't fire him again.  He's too cute.

Monday, June 6, 2011

More UFOs

What a day.  Seems like it took forever to get going this morning, since I'm still under the weather.  Even so, I was pretty jazzed about finishing up that purse yesterday, so I thought I'd keep the ball rolling.  

After I posted about the purse, I went through some things in my workroom and picked out a few projects to work on today.  One was a restringing project for my neighbor - her eyeglass lanyard ruptured, and sent beads flying everywhere.  Luckily she was able to corral most of them, and brought them to me to restring.  Next was a pair of earrings I decided to knock out for myself (shocking, I know) - I found the components and some stones while I was looking for the lanyard parts in my jewelry-making stash, and figured "Why not?"  The third was a pile of turtleneck long sleeved t-shirts I've had for years but haven't worn for a long time - I have the makings for at least four or five refashioned shirts there.  I put everything together I would need for the next day and set it aside so it would be easy to just come in and get to work in the morning.

What I wasn't counting on was a random phone call with an opportunity to pick up another on-call banner sewing position.  Turns out that the guy they hired when I was originally applying for the position didn't work out so well.  He did while he was there, but then apparently he decided to get a full-time job and "forgot" to tell them about it.  He actually expected them to call him in for sewing jobs before seven in the morning, or after seven in the evening.  Rather silly, since the shop isn't even open then.  So the boss called me up today, wondering if I were still interested in doing the on-call work for them.  I went in to meet the head designer and got a total kick out of the place - very modern, very young (I would be the oldest person there), very hip - and only five minutes from my front door.  The employees must love it there - they even have a complete full sized kitchen with a dining area.  Couches everywhere.  Ikea furniture & decorative touches all over.  Awesome color-coordinated offices, graphics, matching orange doors (!!!), and out in the warehouse where I'll be working - six foot high banners with the photos of everyone who is an employee there, hanging at ceiling height.  How cool is that?  Just need a little time to get used to their industrial machine, which is different from the one I use at the other shop.  At least I was able to find the instruction manual online when I got home, so I can familiarize myself with the components and learn how to make adjustments if necessary.

Took a chunk of time out of my plans for today, but it was all good.  The people are really, really nice and I think if it works out, I'll like working there.  It's good for them, since they don't have enough banner work for a full-time or even a part-time position; it's good for me because it's on-call, and added to the work at the other shop it will help with the finances - best part:  it's so close!

So when I got back, I still wasn't in the best shape but decided to stick with the program anyway - maybe setting deadlines and picking out the projects ahead of time WILL help.

First up- a pair of easy earrings from the components I found while looking for lanyard parts:

Sterling silver components with lapis lazuli stones.  Surprisingly lightweight!

The flurry of turtlenecks that are about to become.....something else!

Off go the cuffs - part of the reason I haven't worn these in ages is because I DETEST cuffs.

Off goes the first turtleneck.  Years ago these didn't bother me.  Now I find them incredibly confining.

The broken lanyard, partially restrung.  It feels good to get the jewelry tools going again!

The finished lanyard with the trimmed ex-turtleneck No. 1.  

All in all, a pretty productive day.  I have plans for some of the ex-turtlenecks (one involves lace and beading), and others I'm still firming up plans for.  I also have some alterations I need to take care of for another client to get started on as well, so I'll work on at least one of her garments and one of mine every day.  Pictures to follow, so stay tuned!  Right now it's time for Robitussin Max and then off to bed.....

PS - I did get rid of something from my workroom while clearing a space to do the jewelry work.  It was a small something, but it was still something.  (Grins)