Art Biz

Today was the last day of art class for my oldest two. The presentations this term were really good. We have a few new, cool things to display in our home, now!

Missy’s superhero, Scorpia, was a BIG hit! Another parent there really, really liked the work she was featured in. She took the time to find out who created her and came over to tell my daughter that she really enjoyed it and what a great job she’d done. You cannot beat that kind of unsolicited praise! I’m sooooo glad we didn’t miss it. We went to her brother’s class, in another building, first. The woman actually rode up on the elevator with us when we went to view Missy’s things. I seriously got a little teary, lol. She really needs positive reinforcement from people she’s not related to. You know?

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Scorpia

This bird display was so cool! I love how my son’s teachers hung clouds between them. Their displays were particularly creative. Here are a few snaps of his bird.IMG_2515

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I took some time out to snap a few photos of the refashion I did last night. It was a perfect way to exercise my sewing muscles. Which, apparently, needed a stretch. I have never had so many problems with such a simple project before!

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I like how it, eventually, turned out. But, I think I might have to give this to Missy. The sleeves are too tight for comfort. She is the perfect size for it. In fact, I popped into Domsey’s yesterday and found a leather jacket from Express in great condition for only $7.39. It was a touch too small for me, so I got it for her instead. Pre-teen’s first leather!

Anyway, I sewed down that floppy collar, hacked it to waist length, cut a strip for a peplum sort of deal and added an extra bit of width to it for the pleat detail. Not too shabby for a sweater I rescued from the trash on dorm move out day!

Playing with Color

 

BEHOLD!

Ombre Oxford

The results of my dip dying experiment!!

Ombre Oxford

I kind of love it!! I thrifted this pink oxford from Domsey’s for $4.59. It’s a boy’s size 16 (which makes it a bit snug around the hips) by Sean John. I dyed it in a basin in my kitchen sink, using Dylon dye in a deep, navy blue. I could have/should have left it in longer, but I was impatient, lol

Ombre Oxford

Ombre Oxford

I pinned the front, back and sleeves together in that hope that it would result in an even line across the shirt. I think it worked really well! This layered technique did result in the back of the shirt being slightly lighter. I like the effect, but it’s something to consider if/when you decide to dip dye something.

 Instead of hanging the shirt, I laid it across the side of the sink and lowered it a little in 10 min-ish intervals. One packet makes enough dye to cover a much larger item than this shirt. I went a little dye happy and threw in a rayon scarf and a thrifted cotton skirt. Just to see what would happen. I love the result of the scarf! It was peach colored and belonged to my grandma. I’m much more likely to wear it, now that it’s darker. The skirt was more subtle, but still quite pretty. It was a size 1X, gathered skirt, so once I cut off the waistband I had a huge piece of fabric to use in the future.

I don’t know that dyeing is something I’ll do very often. But it was fun to give it a try!

 

 

 

 

The “Grayscale” Ensemble

The "Grayscale" Ensemble

That life line TOTALLY WINS with my heart tights*!!
The Facts
Fabric | Kenneth Cole Poly/Rayon blend men’s slacks, $5.00. They’re size 34/32. Banana Republic tissue thin 100% Cotton top, $5.00 (I think). The belt was inspired by this Burberry one.
Patterns | None
Year | Current
Notions | Thread, elastic and a hook and bar for the belt.
Time to complete | Almost no time. I spent more time futzing around on the internet, waiting to be inspired by a refashion for a top to wear with the shorts I knew I wanted to make.
First worn | To take these photos, initially. We, my daughter and I, ended up walking to the thrift store together and taking more on the way. We scored some great deals on things we both wanted. YAY for mother/daughter time!! Funny aside, there were two college students filming in the spot we often go to take pics (the super colorful ones are taken across the street from each other). They were working on a lighting assignment and switched their focus to shooting us when we arrived. They were so sweet. I gave them a card and asked that they send me some footage ;o) EDITED TO ADD: They sent it! It was very weird to see how frowny I must look to other people, lol! Here’s a smiling still from the footage.


Wear Again? | Yes, definitely! I can’t believe how much more wearable this sweater is now and I’m a huge fan of making shorts from men’s pants. The time I’ve saved on making all the details that are staple features in menswear trousers is not lost on me. I need to re-work the bow portion of the belt. I’m not ashamed to admit that it did not immediately occur to me to INTERFACE the bows for stability. DUH! I’m wearing lace heart tights from Forever 21 (I have a gray and black hounds tooth pair that I planned to wear, but they were SUPER tight!) and my H&M oxfords.

The "Grayscale" Ensemble

I like this pair of man shorts more than my last. This time. I narrowed the legs and raised the crotch by taking them in at the inseam. Genius, the person who first posted that to the interwebs. This had the effect of making the waist fit better and the overall fit being more like that of a lady who does not need room in the crotch area for man parts. There, I’ve filled the blog’s crotch talk quotient for the next little while ;o)

The "Grayscale" Ensemble

The "Grayscale" Ensemble

This top was once about mid thigh length. It’s also meant to be worn the opposite way. See, here. I hated looking for this one black tank (that I wear under everything) whenever I wanted to wear it. And I always ended up bunching it up after about 2 seconds of wearing it full length. I lopped off about a foot, cut the ribbing off and reattached it to the new, shorter, sweater. Then, to solve the the need for a bottom layer, I wore it backwards! I think it works. Even my husband, who would not hesitate to (nicely) discourage this plan if it didn’t, agreed.

The "Grayscale" Ensemble

I put it together with lace heart tights and my much loved oxfords and away we went! The belt idea, the part that took the longest, came about when I hated the way my existing belts looked with the outfit. I have always had it in the back of my mind to knock off the Burberry belt and now was the time. Using one of the pant legs, I made a long casing (about 50 inches), turned it right side out, feed the elastic through and caught it in the ends when I tucked and stitched them closed. In hindsight, I should have made the casing with one seam, so it would be easier to hide it at the back. As I stated above, I also should have used super heavy weight interfacing to give the bows some dimension. I think I’ll replace this bow (which is just pinned on, I have tons of broken costume jewelry pieces to swap it out with once I figure out how to attach them, lol) and use the remaining pant leg (or, you know, any of the metric ton of fabric I have on hand) for another go. I have tons of thick elastic for more. I will be belted in the future, people! You can see more pics here!

That’s all folks!

The "Grayscale" Ensemble

*I thought that this line kind of looked like a life line when we stopped to snap this pic. I hadn’t even noticed the actual one in the other pictures that were taken first!

Black & White at the Night Circus

This guy is a little more ogre than circus clown, but he makes an interesting backdrop!

Black & White & Night Circus

It’s literature inspiration week at the Sew Weekly, and I’m on the front page! Friends, I LOVE TO READ!! Heck, I’m in school studying librarianship! It is my favorite thing to do. Followed by making things. For this week’s challenge I had my heart set on channeling one of my absolute favorite protagonists (EVER) one Ms. Lisbeth Salander. I fell instantly, and hard, for this character from her first appearance in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I loved her more when I watched the Swedish film version. And, though I mightily resisted watching it at first, the American version only increased my devotion to her.

Why, then am I not dressed like my beloved ball busting heroine?? All of my ideas for a Salander style ensemble were way too hot for the warm weather we’re still having. I tried to shift gears to something temp friendly, but still applicable, and it just didn’t work. I spent a lot of time trying to force it, but the good sewing juju didn’t like my manhandling and flew the coop.

I needed to shift gears. I tried to think of ANY of the books that I love (and even the ones I don’t) that matched anything I had in my stash. I almost made a Red Dress. Or something Indian inspired.

Then, I spotted my borrowed copy of The Night Circus and had a brainstorm.

Black and White and Red. Reveur style.

I had white t-shirts and black t-shirts and a black & white shirt and a red & white bit of fabric. A plan decided, I set into motion. Only, it was slow motion as I continued to be plagued with problems. That the bit of red & white fabric was SO uncooperative! But, I powered through and ended up semi pissed with the lame version of what I saw in my minds eye. I think the mood of failure had a lot to do with the fact that through it all, I was still wishing to be Salander for a day. (I had even found some awesome graffiti to pose in front of!) I was also missing my pop of red….

And then I remembered my favorite lippy. And then I saw the pics. And then I kind of loved my Reveur Style!

Black & White & Night Circus

Black & White & Night Circus

The Facts
Fabric | A couple of my hubby’s old t-shirts and dress I thrifted from the Goodwill store for the striped accent.
Patterns | BurdaStyle’s Lydia for the top, I winged it on the skirt. It’s a tube with an elastic waistband. I used the existing shirt hem for the bottom.
Year | Current
Notions | Thread and a bit of elastic.
Time to complete | I had a hard time with this challenge. I have been sewing, and ruining fabric, for days to come up with this relatively simple ensemble. But, it’s done and I love it. No harm, no foul. Just wasted time and fabric, lol.
First worn | On a picture walk with my kiddies. You can see the little three in a conference off to one side while my oldest takes the pics ;o) I find new graffiti every single time I leave home, now. It’s awesome! (FYI: the twins are the two closest to me, the one is the red hat is 17 months older than them, but I am often asked if they are triplets)

Black & White & Night Circus
Wear again? | Yes. Initially, I wasn’t too jazzed about the overall look because it was not what I had in mind for this challenge. At all. (Another round of music and book challenges, please) But I think it looks rather nice in pics and it is very comfy as its made entirely of t-shirts ;0)
Total price | I’m going to call it free so I can stop beating myself up about the money wasted on all of my failed efforts for the week.

Black & White & Night Circus

I even dragged out a prop for the shoot ;o)

Black & White & Night Circus

I would have loved to find a bowler hat or a B&W umbrella as seen with the author here, but we work with what we have, eh? The white portions are unevenly cut, intentionally, so that more or less of the b&w fabric shows from each side.

Black & White & Night Circus

Overall, the look’s not bad. One more shirt with a bit of pizzazzzzz to add to my go-to fall jeans and tee uniform. And a dead simple, dead comfy little slip of a skirt to throw on with tunics and even more versions of Roxanne and Scout. Leave it to me to use a fantastical, magical, transcendent work of art to make practical, casual basics! I mean, look at what Gina did this week! I’ve got to find my A game!

Writing for Others

 

As I’m approaching the end of my grad school career (TWO MORE CLASSES), I’ve been trying to plan things to do with the free time (YAY!!) I’ll gain when assigned reading is OVER. One of my goals, aside from sewing and creating because, after all

I wanted to find some opportunities to have my work published by someone other than me ;o)

A chance to do just that tweeted it self right into my lap! I follow The Indie Chicks on twitter and they tweeted a call for submissions. Before I could talk myself out of it, I replied with a pitch and they were interested!

I wrote and photographed a simple tutorial on how to take an old pair of pants from this:

To this!

Check it out over on The Indie Chicks!

 

 

 

 

Upcycling with David & Goodwill

On Saturday, I spent some sisterly time with this beauty crafting up a storm at the Goodwill Boutique store in the West Village. It was such a nice time! David, who I met through BurdaStyle, hosted the upcycling event. Using fabric paint and pencils I enhanced not one, but two projects! The tees were provided for us and I brought the pants along with me. I finally got around taking some pictures of them both, today.

Goodwill Boutique :: Hanes Ucycled Tee

Goodwill Boutique :: H&M Upcycled Pants

Goodwill Boutique :: Hanes Ucycled Tee

Goodwill Boutique :: H&M Upcycled Pants

Goodwill Boutique :: Hanes Ucycled Tee

Goodwill Boutique :: H&M Upcycled Pants

I LOVE how they came out!! I see so many dot print refashions in the future. Look at what David did with his project. I’ve already thrifted the perfect  pink oxford to try this with, next! It’s the perfect project for pants like these, that are a little boring and a little too big. This bit of paint gives them new life!

The “Where Are The Roses???” Ensemble

The "Where Are The Roses???" Ensemble

The Facts | Sew Weekly Outdoor Inspiration Challenge
Fabric | A thrifted, seems like rayon, skirt.
Patterns | None, refashioned on the fly.
Year | Current.
Notions | Thread and elastic.
Time to complete | About a half hour hour.
First worn | To take silly, late night indoor pics.
Wear again? | I think so. I’m always so gun shy about strapless tops. I mean, it’s not like I go to the roller derby or…engage in on-the-fly wrestling matches. What exactly am I so worried about?
Total price | $5 for the skirt from the Goodwill store downtown Brooklyn, the elastic was free and my new sewing machine was $149 ;o) My finally-found-one-big-enough-for-my-noggin Fedora was $8. I kinda love it!

The "Where Are The Roses???" Ensemble

I had such high hopes for this week. It was to be my triumphant return to the land of working sewing machines where challenges are turned in on time(ish). I was going to make something fabulous and flirty and fitted and…and….Let’s just say, I had BIG plans. Alas, thanks to the absolute idiots working at my local FedEx depot, the machine that I expected to be delivered last Saturday didn’t arrive then. It’s too late and I’m in too good a mood to rehash the details right now. Every time I talk about it, I get vexed all over again. The nitty & gritty (included a screenshot of a deleted rage filled tweet) has been documented on my blog, if you care to read about it.

The "Where Are The Roses???" Ensemble

So, the machine came. And then I got super busy with school and then hubby and I had a date night planned. Then, something kind of amazing happened. Returning a lost phone to its very grateful owner (and the very generous reward he gave me) boosted my morale and gave me the kick in the pants I needed to get back on the bobbin…or something like that ;o)

The "Where Are The Roses???" Ensemble

I can honestly say, I also delayed getting started because I was worried that I would thread the machine and it wouldn’t work. The whole experience was so trying and draining. I felt my fear was justified when I sat down to sew a few rows on a scrap of fabric and the machine DID. NOT. SEW. Luckily, this was not my first time at the sewing machine rodeo and I knew what to check for. The bobbin winder was pushed over. I pushed it back. Still DID. NOT. SEW. Then, I remembered that the machine’s feed dogs could be dropped. I lifted them. Bingo! We have SEWING!!

The "Where Are The Roses???" Ensemble

I think this skirt may have been taken in/refashioned before. The side seams are totally different. I basically shortened it, made it a teeny bit narrower, tightened the waistband and used the bottom bit to make a layered top. This is the first time I’ve used my serger (with the knife immobilized) to attach elastic. My execution wasn’t perfect, but the technique has its merits. At any rate, I didn’t miss making a casing and feeding the elastic through.

The "Where Are The Roses???" Ensemble

Though looking on the bright side and stopping to smell the roses while making lemonade out of the lemons the universe kept chucking at me has been really (REALLY) challenging for me these last two weeks, I’m happy to have something to show for this one and anxious to start my next project on my new baby!

The “Chop it, Paint it, Wear it” Top

The "Chop it, Paint it, Wear it" Top
Okay friends, this is my last cheater/make do/no sewing machine project. I’m picking out a new one today!! I have been one ornery, unhappy camper without my machine. Everyone in my family will be much happier once I’m set again.

My first fabric painting+refashion attempt was a BOMB, lol. I used these Sharpie markers on an old boy’s uniform shirt. It did not go well. They bled a little too much and the light blue color of the shirt didn’t mesh well with the colors of the markers. For attempt number two I switched tools. Gocco paint, a toothbrush and the little plastic lid that’s under the deodorant cap resulted in a semi-success.
Gocco ink make shift stamping pad
The "Chop it, Paint it, Wear it" Top

The Facts |Embellishment Challenge
Fabric | A turtleneck I got in my first Freecycle haul. It’s a medium, possibly petite, from St. John’s Bay.
Patterns | None, refashioned on the fly.
Year | Current.
Notions | Thread, a toothbrush, a plastic lid and Gocco paint.
Time to complete | About a half hour/three quarters of an hour. Mostly fiddling with the colors and layers and then finally adding the oval shaped stamping using the deodorant lid.
First worn | To take my daughter to her summer program.
Wear again? | I can’t honestly say that I’m sure this will get worn again. I really dislike tops that come way up on my chest and neck like this. I felt like I was tugging at it every couple of minutes. I loved painting on it, though. So, I will use that technique again.
Total price | Let’s call it free. The top was free and I’ve had that Gocco paint for ages and ages.

I tied the shirt together in the back to give it some shape. It’s quite boxy to be so damn small, lol. I’m also pretty chuffed about the neatness of my bun! I did it while running through the house this morning and forgot to check it in the mirror before I left.

The "Chop it, Paint it, Wear it" Top

These jeans are sort of refashioned, too. I took in the legs a long time ago, but only just serged off the excess last night. I don’t know why I waited so long. Don’t we all do that sometimes??? Also, I must point out, that back tattoo is almost fifteen years old. Way before tattoos in that location were given that unfortunate nickname….ahem. My oldest son (he’ll be 7 on September 13th) was my photographer this week. I like his slightly tilted shots and those with only half of me in them, lol. And the skewed perspective that results from a shorty taking a pic of a taller person. I particularly like this one below.

The "Chop it, Paint it, Wear it" Top

I cannot wait to sew something! I hope that this super demanding class I’m in and shuttling my daughter to and from class won’t take up so much time (and ENERGY) that I can’t.

Dust Yourself Off and Try Anyway

The "Undefeated" Ensemble
One day last week, I set my alarm to wake up early(ish) to sew. Only to discover that my machine was BROKEN!!! It must have happened while my sister was trying to make a skirt last week. I hadn’t touched it since then. I’m sure if there was ever a group of people who could understand how I felt when I made this discovery, it’s you all.

I managed to reach epic levels of sadness and disappointment so rapidly that I, literally, felt sick to my stomach. Sewing, crafting, creating is my relaxation. My guaranteed feeling of accomplishment when nothing else in my life is certain. Though I felt pathetic to be so upset about my inability to sew for a while, I was genuinely crushed. I wasted the entire day grouching from bed and watching bad TV. Thankfully, I have incredibly understanding children that possess the skill to entertain one another. And wait semi-patiently for dinner.

I found the determination to hand sew the hem on the shorts and think of a project and fabric match that could be made entirely on my serger. Drape Drape no.12 and the only red, white or blue jersey in my stash combined to make it possible to have a project for this week. And to feel like I won the battle I’ve fought with myself my entire life, not to give up so easily.

The Facts |Red, White & Blue Challenge
Fabric | Some kind of slubby  jersey blend, Old Navy cropped pants that have been, mercifully, shortened. I’m not too proud to admit that they never really looked that great on me.
Patterns | Pattern no.12 from the Japanese pattern book, Drape Drape
Year | Current.
Notions | Thread, only.
Time to complete | About an hour. The shorts were super easy, I hemmed them by hand. The top was fast because I didn’t hem or bind anything. I serged it together and finished the neck and armholes on the serger, too.
First worn | Out and about with my family. We visited my granny (her bday is today, Independence Day), went to the park to play (and take pics) and then back home.
Wear again? | Yes, but I may shorten the top. I don’t like that is-she-wearing-a-REALLY-short-dress-or-a-long-top look. I also cut it with the stretch running vertically (that was the only way the pattern fit), so it grew as the day went on.
Total price | Let’s call it free. The white was a scrap and the pants were saved from the trash pile and bought years and years and years ago.

Hopefully, I will have a new machine soon. I might even make it in time for next week’s challenge. I’m working on a contingency plan. Just in case.

More pictures, taken by my daughter, here.

The “Hat Required” Refashion

The "Hat Required" Refashion

Clearly the Royal Wedding invite did not say “hat optional”. Why else would the princesses wear these monstrosities to the wedding?!?! This might not be a monarchy, but I know better than to piss off a Queen.

Hat it is.

The "Hat Required" Refashion

The Facts | Diamond Jubilee Royal Inspired Challenge
Fabric | A thrifted 100% Rayon dress made by K&Company.
Patterns | None. I removed the sleeves and resized the bodice. I also ran a new row of stitching over the waist seam, it was coming loose in some spots. I also made a small pleat at the shoulder to bring it in. I was glad to work on something easy after last week. That romper has FOURTEEN darts!
Year | Not sure, but there is almost no wear on this dress. It is either a recent purchase or very well taken care of.
Notions | Thread.
Time to complete | About an hour with the taking off and on to check the new armhole size and what have you.
First worn | At home as it is freezing in NYC. Again.
Wear again? | Yes, definitely. I am a fan of a long dress on a hot summer day.
Total price | $6.39 for the dress. I think that hat was a buck from Target’s dollar section a while back. You can see the dress pre-refashion here. The cameo necklace, clip-ons and the bracelet were my gran’s.

The "Hat Required" Refashion

The "Hat Required" Refashion

I must give Meg another shout out this week. Her pins have been a sewing inspiration life saver, again. She added these images to her boards a while back and I knew just what to do for this challenge once I saw them.

These pics are, perhaps, more Diana Ross than Queen Elizabeth.

The "Hat Required" Refashion

But we’ve got a hat and polka dots. That’s as close to dressing like the Queen as I would like to get.

The "Hat Required" Refashion

I left a few of the bottom buttons undone for a Royally inappropriate flash of leg ;o)

The "Hats Required" Refashion

As an Anglophile I would like to offer my congratulations to the Queen for kicking Royal A** and taking Royal names for 60 years!

You can view a few more pics here.