Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Old Lady Shoe Makeover

I have the hardest time finding spring/summer shoes that are comfy and cute.  I love slip-on/ballet flat style shoes but lately I've noticed that the lack of support makes my feet ache by the end of the day.  I found these shoes at T.J.Maxx for a very reasonable price.  I like the shape and support but hate the awful fake gemstone things.
So I decided to make them over and was inspired by these shoes:
Blume leather ballet flats from J.Crew

I cut off the stones and made a miniature version of the flower corsage from Made by Lex.  Using my brand new mini glue gun I glued it to the top of the shoe.
The best part of this makeover is that if I get sick of this color/style (or it gets dirty) I can just pull it off and put on something new!  I like this ruffle option as well:

And I think that one large flower with few petals, like the one on this headband, would work well also:
Large flower headband by Made by Lex

Now I'm ready for the 80 degree weather this weekend!
PS-After wearing these shoes out one day the fraying got out of control so I sealed the edges with a candle.
PPS-After having worn these for a couple of days I realized that the glue is not enough to keep the fabric on the shoe (the roses however are still firmly attached to the strip of fabric).  There are holes in the leather where the original decorations were sewn on, so I did a few hand stitches to secure the flowers.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

My First Shirt

This is my first real shirt (buttons, sleeves, collar) and I think it turned out pretty well!  I used Simplicity Pattern 2601 and am obviously still not used to the sizing differences-again I was cautious and cut the fabric much bigger than I needed, especially for the back piece.  It was too big around the waist but I was able to put in a couple of darts in the back and it looks just fine and fits well.

This was also my first use of French seams.  The fabric definitely needed them as it frayed very easily and was sheer enough that you could see through to the seams.  I used this tutorial from Freshly Picked to get started and once I had done the first few it got pretty easy (although when attaching the lower sections of the shirt I had to repin a few times before it lined up correctly).  I really like the look of the French seams and am going to try to use them from now on--the extra ironing is a pain but in the end the inside of the piece looks so much better!
I also used bias tape to cover the neck and front (as in the pattern) and also on the seam where the sleeves attach to the shirt.  Unfortunately I didn't realize how much fraying had already happened when I got to this point and ended up with some frayed parts showing beyond the bias tape.  I was able to trim most of them and the rest will disappear over time (I hope).
If I were to make this shirt again the only thing I would change would be the width of the panel with the buttons.  It's a bit too narrow and when I'm wearing the shirt little gaps show between the two sides, nothing a few safety pins can't fix, but it is kind of annoying.  Overall I'm very happy with my first shirt attempt and can't wait to make another (my next one will be from my new sewing book: Sew U by Wendy)!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Quick Tote Bag

I've been wanting to do something with this great canvas print fabric every since my boyfriend's mother let me raid her fabric cabinet at Thanksgiving but hadn't found the right project.  In my 6 months of sewing I haven't made a bag yet and was in the market for a nice new tote bag.  I found this tutorial from Cicada Daydream that seemed simple and close to what I wanted.  I just made 2 changes: 1) I made mine bigger (her sides are 13x14 before sewing and mine were 20x21) and 2) I added an inside pocket.
I love how the bag turned out and the pattern and rich purple together.  The only thing I don't like is the fact that the bottom is pretty saggy (as you can see in the first picture).  Next time I make a bag I'll try to do a more structured bottom. This was a great first bag project: fast with clear instructions and a great result!

Very Poofy Skirt

I finally had time to make my elastic waist skirt with my purl fabric this weekend.  I'm fairly happy with how it turned out, but I'm still trying to get the poofiness to go down!  I got really in to it and didn't take any pictures during the process but check out the great tutorial I used from Freshly Picked.  The only change I made was to cover up the elastic, like this J.Crew skirt:

I made the skirt more or less following the tutorial directions but instead of sewing the fabric to the elastic I folded the top over to create a pocket for the 2 inch wide elastic.  Looking back I really should have just placed the elastic and then folded the fabric over and sewn, but I decided to create the pocket first and then string the elastic through, which was of course time consuming and frustrating.  But in the end it worked.

I had to line the skirt, and I did so once the rest was finished.  I just sewed the 2 vertical sides of lining fabric together and then sewed them to the skirt at the top, right at the bottom of the elastic pocket.  The pockets are between the blue fabric and the lining (I checked some of my other dresses/skirts with pockets and this was the most common way of doing pockets and lining).

The skirt started out very poofy and I've been pressing and ironing to calm it down a bit.  I like some poofiness but it felt a bit like a tutu at first!  If I were to make this again (which I'm sure I will it was so simple!) I think I would use 1.5 times the length of elastic for the fabric, instead of 2 times as suggested in the tutorial.  I'm so happy that I finally know how to make pockets...it's really quite simple and I will now be putting them in all of my creations.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Dress to Skirt and New Fabric

I was 90% finished with my Simplicity dress (just needed to attach 1 sleeve and hem the bottom) when I tried it on for the 20th time and realized the the bodice was just too big and that short of detaching it and redoing all the hems and darts nothing I could do would fix it.  I also decided that I don't really like the large pattern all over, so I've decided to make the dress into a skirt.  I promised to give it 48 hours before making the cut but it's already been 24 and I'm only more convinced.  I think it will be easy to turn in to a skirt and the pockets will still look cute.

I also got some amazing fabric at purl this weekend.  That place is incredible...I could have spent all day (and all my money) there! 
I got this cute light cotton blue fabric with pink stripe around the bottom that I'm going to use to make a really simple spring skirt using this tutorial from Freshly Picked but shorter and with a thicker elastic band like this J.Crew skirt:
I can't wait for spring!