A great summer day!! Out in the sunshine with my children, wearing sandals and shorts, spotting beautiful street art!!! Some of my favorites!!
Archer Hits The MARK!!!
Can you even believe I made this!!! Jen, you are a talented, talented woman!! Without the sew along posts I would NEVER have had such success with this project!!! Making Archer has taught me SOOOO much!!
The biggest lesson:
If it’s not quite right, rip it out and do it again! And again, if necessary
I really hate to do things more than once. But to get the result I wanted, it was absolutely necessary rip out and try again. Several times. And that’s fine.
The collar went smoother than I thought it would and the cuff was dead easy!! The process also forced me to get over my fear of buttonholes and buttons!!! The four step one on my Janome is so much easier than the automatic one!! I love that I control the length, these would have been too small otherwise. I also tried the buttonhole foot from my broken machine and it worked!! All of this adds up to me feeling seriously anxious tackle my next shirt!
Or at least project with buttons, lol.
I’m pretty pleased with the fit, though I could probably go a size down and be just fine. I have a narrow torso that’s swallowed up a bit. I don’t mind with this style of shirt, though. I am loving the sleeve length!! I have long arms, coupled with my smaller upper body = button down shirt sucky fit.
But not with handmade!!!
Here’s the rest of my outfit.
Coat :: Steve Madden
Sweater :: Sean John (menswear)
Scarf :: Thrifted
Chambray Shirt :: HANDMADE BABY!!
Shorts :: Thrifted & Refashioned Kenneth Cole (Menswear) Trousers
Shoes :: H&M
This is also the first time I’ve worn my hair down like this since I cut it nearly three years ago. Progress!!
And here are some indoor pics of Archer.
Thanks to Rose de Wolfe for modeling!! And thanks to Oona for the sweet deal on her!!
My success with last week’s Sew Weekly refashioning challenge has made me take a closer look at some things in my “to refashion” pile and led me to grab a few new pieces when I hit the thrift store with Missy after our photo shoot (and again a couple days later. Thrifting with an impatient tween doesn’t allow for combing the racks thoroughly). Feel free to chime in with opinions on what works, what doesn’t and what is asking for trouble ;p
I have this mid calf length sweater that I got in the great-dorm-move-out-day-dash with my sister. It’s 100% wool and too tight to be worn as is. I’m thinking it might be a good jumping off point to transform into something like this, sans pockets:
I could also go for cutting it into a totally new look (which would address the tight sleeve issue) and aim for something with this shape (using this pattern, maybe) and kicky beaded embellishment, if the mood strikes me:
Look who happened to be on the tag of one of the sweatshirts we bought.
This pale colored merino pullover is a bit more hole-y than I thought. I could re-work it into something like this:
I also have a black wool coat I got from a Freecycler. Nothing special, single breasted, long, wool and boring.
That’s quite the full refashioning plate! This doesn’t even include the two pair of men’s pants I have on hand and the tux jacket I never got around to on my last refashioning binge.
I like to thrift for refashionables but these last two trips yielded some wear as is items, too. Like this cashmere (for $5.79!!!!) sweater from Lord & Taylor and this cashmere (also $5.79!!!!) cardigan by Grace. My daughter and I will be cable knit sweater twins in our, identical but differently priced, pullovers and she’s already worn two of her finds to school. All of our purchases can be seen here.
The results of my dip dying experiment!!
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
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!
That life line TOTALLY WINS with my heart tights*!!
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.
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)
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.
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!
*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!
This guy is a little more ogre than circus clown, but he makes an interesting backdrop!
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.
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!
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)
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.
I even dragged out a prop for the shoot ;o)
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.
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!
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: