Friday Favorites, Episode 15

A short one today, but hopefully a good one.

1. Helen at SewStylish posted a great list of free sewing patterns/tutorials. I haven’t had a chance to browse through the links yet, but free can never be a bad thing.

2. Two from ThreadBanger this week. The first is a list of several ideas of what to do with scrap thread— those little leftover bits that you clip off of the end of seams and handstitching projects and such. I’d never really thought to save those before, but in the interest of keeping stuff out of landfills, I can see why they would be. Plus some of the stuff is just fun. The other was a tutorial for a Japanese-style cropped jacket from a hoodie. (I really need to catch up on ThreadBanger vids…)

3. Craft Leftovers posted a tutorial for a cute little book.

4. Not a tutorial so much as an “I need to figure out how to copy this”. Earrings made from old cds, courtesy of Recycled Crafts. Being the music junkie I am, I need these earrings. 😉

The long-awaited picture post

A bit overdue… just didn’t get the pics till now.
In order of finishing:
1. The Green and Gray Dress

Allow me to explain the slightly uncreative title. It came from the fabric– green and gray were right next to each other in the color listing, and it immediately brought to mind one of my favorite Nickel Creek songs of that title. Anyway, I finished this on Saturday. The pattern was Butterick 5206. Made a couple changes– left the zipper out entirely because I didn’t need the extra room to get it over my head with the stretchy knit fabric, took in the waist about a total of 4 inches, and stitched down the front at the seam binding to keep the crossover bit from sagging. Also decided to do the sleeve and skirt hems as a rolled hem on my serger, which I think was the best solution because the foldunder type would have added too much bulk. The dress is very comfortable, and I love the fabric. And the look of the belt.

And here’s a view of the back.

I’m so happy with how this turned out–and the knit was painless to work with when I used the serger!

2. Something Blue

Made this on Sunday, while hanging out with N and watching It Happened One Night. It’s a slightly belated birthday present for J, whose birthday passed while she was on her honeymoon. Perhaps a bit lame of me, because I made it from beads leftover from her bridesmaids’ jewelry, but at least I know she likes the color!

3. Autumn Leaves Jewelry

The other jewelry set I made on Sunday. I really like how this one turned out, with the pre-drilled wood discs and the leaf charms. So this is probably going to end up being my general brown neclace for fall and winter, in lieu of the seashell one I tend to wear all the time when it’s warm.

And this isn’t done yet, but this is my stack of papers that need to have stuff glued on them and go into my road trip album. Two stacks, technically. One of them held in by a box. Yes, I definitely have my work cut out for me.

That’s one ginormous scrapbook.

There will be pictures soon. I do have finished projects to show. But I haven’t taken pics yet and I’m short on time tonight. I will say, though, that I finally finished sorting my photos to paper for my road trip scrapbook. And if I counted it right, there’s 110 pages. Which was with often cramming 5-6 uncropped photos per piece of paper. And leaving a fairly good number out. This might take awhile…

Friday Favorites, Episode 14

Found all sorts of fun this week, mostly in the form of tutorials. Yay!

First on the list is from Craft Leftovers, who posted a two part series on using used books. The first post was mainly sources, so I’m linking the second, which had links to project ideas. Including secret compartment books (one specifically meant to hold an iPod!) and how to turn a book into a cd case.

Creative Kismet had a couple of skirts that she made. The fun twist? They were made from thrifted fabric bags.

I never fail to find useful tips at The Sewing Divas. The standout this week was some advice on cutting hard-to-work-with fabrics, like jerseys and silks, with underlays. Also, the mention of pattern weights is inspiring me to buy some rocks from work and turn them into some.

Recycled Crafts had a link to a site geared towards father-child craft projects. I’m at an age where creating with my dad would have to involve being able to afford my own place and power tools, but I still liked this butterfly from recycled wrapping paper. Also, though I have no plans to enter the art exhibition that this post is about, I thought this mosaiced fridge was pretty darn cool.

Have to do some more shameless self-promotion– since Friday Favorites was posted early last week, I just missed noticing that I got a second mention at Crafting A Green World as the first runner-up in a mini-contest thingy they had for reconstructed clothing picture submissions. You should check out their crowned Queen of Upcycled Fashion– she had some neat stuff in her Etsy. (And as first runner-up, that’s got to mean I get a royal title too, right? At least a dutchess or something.) Also, they had a great post about trying to find eco-friendly fabric at the mainstream stores— albeit slightly depressing, seeing as how Joann’s is the only game in town. Pretty much literally, other than the internet. And in linking to them just now, stumbled across another fun link– an entire site dedicated to eco-friendly art supplies. This could be dangerous, for my wallet at least.

Found several tutorials I liked at My Half of the Brain this week. Hands-down favorite, these summer slippers. I think I’ll have to make a pair to stash in my flute bag for my Friday lessons– I have a couple students who I commute to their houses, and the Korean family of one of them requested that I not wear shoes inside their house. They also recently redid the room that I teach their son in, and standing barefoot on a hardwood floor for an hour makes my legs tired, so this might be just the ticket! Other projects I enjoyed: fabric envelopes, these felt strawberries (Lydia, these made me think of you after all your strawberry posts!) and this pen case (which I mainly picked because I have some fabric scrap pieces that I thought would work really well in this style of bag! Just never had time to figure out the pattern. And now I don’t have to.)

Ok, wrapping it up here…need to finish dinner, and my serger/sewing machine is calling me!

Adventures in knitwear

I love having a serger. I have never had such an easy time in assembling anything made out of knit fabric. It’s not done yet by any means– still have to add the zipper, the belt, hem the sleeves and skirt, and, um, probably try to tighten up the waistline a good bit. But this is the dress I’ve been working on so far.
I’m really glad I had that serger class before I made this. These were the most painless sleeves I’ve ever set in. No basting, no gathering, all I had to do was pin it in, start serging, change the differential feed between the dots, and voila!

Two perfectly set-in sleeves with no stretching, no puckering, and no basting stitches to rip out! Which, now that I look at it, you can’t really see in this picture. You can, however, see the gorgeous fabric that I got from, where else, Gorgeous Fabrics!

new project

Ok, the wedding’s over now. Had a good time, the bag worked out well, the jewelry was a hit (people kept commenting about it), totally drained and exhausted, but it was a good day. And now that it’s over, I have more time to craft again!

So I started on a dress today– all I got done was cutting it out, since I had to take the time to trace out some of the pattern pieces first (the fabric that I ended up being a bit short on, so I needed to do a single-layer layout). No pics yet (still have to unload my camera from wedding pics), but hoping to get started on the sewing tomorrow. A knit one, so this will be an adventure in serging.

Friday Favorites, Episode 13: The Early Edition!

Yes, I know it’s only Thursday. But this is the weekend of J’s wedding and therefore tomorrow will be taken up with all of the bridesmaidish things like getting our nails done/rehearsal/washing my hair in preparation for getting it done/a bunch of errands like an overdue trip to the bank, picking up a few last-minute things at the drugstore like a new tube of mascara, and hopefully managing to get my dad something for Father’s Day (I think I’m just going to go with an ice cream pie, because I really have no time to actually bake him something, and my dad is one of those impossible to shop for guys). So it’s either tonight or Sunday. (Too bad, because Episode 13 on Friday the 13th would have been kind of cool.) And Sunday is when I’m hoping to be happily making a mess of the basement in cutting up my recent Gorgeous Fabrics purchase. So here we go…

My Crafting a Green World pick of the week: Recycled fabric paper. This stuff looks pretty cool, actually– a bit pricey ($6-10 for a 22×30 sheet), but I’m thinking it might be great for something like if I ever figure out the bookbinding thing so I can use it on the covers. I also have to mention their list of green craft blogs that they mentioned today– in part because it gave me the next couple of items, but also because I made the list!

The CAGW spinoffs:
1. The last link led me to Etsy’s Earth Tones blog, which in turn led me to this list of ways to reuse/upcycle “disposable” items. By no means comprehensive, but thought-provoking.

2. Another blog they had listed was Recycled Crafts, which looks like it’s largely a link blog (links to tutorials and places to purchase other crafters’ wares.) I’ll have to peruse the tutorials more closely, but looks promising. (Plus the fact that the server is called Craftgossip just makes me smile for some reason.)

ThreadBanger pick of the week: This tutorial for a studded belt. I wear a lot of belts. I have to, because I haven’t yet mastered the art of making pants that fit me, and the stores around here haven’t mastered the art of selling pants that fit me (at least not after I buy them and take them home and wash them, apparently. Grrr. Had that happen at least 3 times recently). So belt options are definitely good.

One of my biggest struggles in life is time management. How do I balance working two jobs, one of which requires a fair amount of driving, finding time to practice, finding time to craft, finding time to devote to other favorite pasttimes (reading, craft blog-hopping, etc), finding time to spend with friends, etc? So I loved this thought provoking post at Consumption Rebellion.

Craft Tutorials had a post that showed an easy way to make those cute ribbon-and-bead bookmarks that you find at bookstores and stuff. Definitely wanting to try this.

Since my recent fabric purchase, I’ve been following Gorgeous Fabric’s blog. A favorite post this week was Easy Ways To Ruin A Great Project — a good run-down of details that I wouldn’t necessarily think of that can often make or break an outfit. (The comments are just as helpful a read.)

Some more good advice came from Fiber Arts Afloat, who posted a tutorial on how to change a princess seam from coming through the armhole to coming through the shoulder seam. In doll-sized proportions. Hee!

Thanks to In A Minute Ago, I found a tutorial on how to make some neat soldered necklaces. Which means I’d have to learn how to use a soldering iron…guess I can always use that for some father-daughter bonding time over power tools!

Last pick of the week: As you all have probably figured out by now, I have this mild obsession with blatantly stealing clothing ideas from Anthropologie. What can I say… so far, it’s one of the stores that fits my style the best. And we don’t have one around here. And I can’t afford their clothes anyway. So of course I loved Koti*Koti’s blouse, which was also a blatantly stolen Anthropologie-based idea. I also liked how she made it her own (and more doable) by opting to do a paint job instead of tediously copying the embroidery.

Better wrap it up here… I have to DIY the non-nail polishing part of a pedicure tonight, since I got advice from several people (my mom and some friends who have had pedicures before) to forego the professional one tomorrow due to my toe injury. Risk of infection from bacteria in the water and their tools and all that. So have a fabulous weekend, all!

Dragonfly wallet

I’m being a slacker this week in blogging… finished this on Sunday, but didn’t get around to taking pics until today. So this is the wallet I made from that skirt.

Took a little longer than anticipated, mainly due to having to hand-sew the binding all the way around. Not to mention the mess with the credit card pockets. But once I got past that, it actually came together really nicely. And I have to say that so far, I love this wallet.
For one thing, the cards fit perfectly– a relief, since in the lining of the Gothic Rose bag they were too loose and often fell out, and in the Wild Horses checkbook cover they were too small and I couldn’t even fit them in.
And the pockets are really nice– the zipper pouch is very easy to get change in and out of (the zipper was also recycled from the original skirt– I haven’t figured out what to put in the velcro pouch yet, but I’m sure it’ll be good.
Also completed on Sunday– the remainder of the bridesmaid necklaces. Which simply consisted of putting the clasps on, measured to fit the girls so they’ll hopefully look like they’re the same length.
I think these are going to be my only craft projects of the week, seeing as how I’m still trying to sort out my work schedule. Once I adjust I’m sure it’ll be easier to find some craft time. I did manage to get a good portion of my sewing area cleaned up though, sort of. The sewing table itself is almost completely clear, at least, and that’s pretty huge. I am hoping to be able to start cutting out my next sewing project on Sunday, though.

Friday Favorites, Episode 12: The all-sewing edition

Wow, so I guess this marks 3 months that I’ve been doing this regular feature! Though it’ll be a short one this week, since all I’ve had time to do with the blog feeds is skim. So I hope I didn’t miss anything really cool! So this week is all sewing.

1. Not so much a technique or tutorial, but this shirt from The Sewing Divas was a good reminder about how crucial pattern layout can be with certain prints–not something I usually think about, but should more often.

2. Sharon B posted a link to a tutorial for little stuffed fabric birds. They’re just really cute.

3. A few weeks ago, the featured project at Threadbanger was this “shrug wrap thingy”, as they dubbed it. This week, they posted a step-by-step how-to with pictures, which is far more helpful to me because then I can print it out and take it to where my sewing machine generally resides. And I liked this one.

4. Favorite refashion of the week at Wardrobe Refashion: Someone made a belly dancing skirt out of jeans. Must weigh a ton, but it looks great!

That’s all for now. Happy Friday!

Always a bridesmaid (bag)…

Finished this cute little bag last night. It would have been Monday night, if I’d basted the fabric and interfacing together within the seam allowance instead of right on the line! Just as a reminder, it’s from Vogue 7354. This is what it looks like undone…
… closed up and on my wrist…

And a view of the slightly funky lining to offset the silver outside (with the family cat posing– she decided to “help” me take my pictures). Incidentally, I really am glad now that I made the larger bag, because my camera fits in there with room to spare for my keys and a small wallet (which, the only one I have that I think will fit is the Hawaiian-print one from last summer’s road trip… oh well, J was my road trip buddy so it’s somewhat appropriate!) Anyway, this pattern was really easy to use, and has restored my faith in Vogue handbag patterns after this little fiasco.

Speaking of wallets…. since my money’s been zipped directly into the lining of my bag for a few months, now that I’ve switched to my summer bag I need an actual wallet again. The one I’m using right now is a tri-fold velcro deal that won’t stay closed when I have actual stuff in there (like the checks I really need to take to the bank), so I’m making a new one. From this.
This is a skirt from several years ago, when I was doing swing dancing on a quasi-regular basis. I haven’t worn it in a couple years, but the fabric was too fun to toss it. Also wasn’t a good one for refashioning into another skirt due to the bias cut. But as a wallet, I think it just might be a lot of fun.

I’m using this wallet pattern that my mom had in her stash– a bit bigger than what I’ve made before, but pretty much perfect for what I need since I have to deal with oversized paychecks on a regular basis. Spent last night cutting it out once I finished with the basting stitches, and this is as far as I got tonight because I’m too lazy to make double-fold bias tape at the moment. Had a little trouble with figuring out which direction I was supposed to fold the credit card pockets in, so I ended up folding and refolding and ironing about three times, but it’s all down now. Taking a little longer because I ended up having to cut interfacing for the entire thing– since it was a bias-cut skirt with a hard-to-see grainline (finely woven cotton), rather than rip a strip and lose cutting space, I just kind of winged it. But I don’t want to stretch things out badly, so the interfacing should hold it in shape. You can also see better why this fabric is so cool and I wanted to keep it now. Not only are there funky dragonflies, but they’re a slightly holographic metallic silver.