Friday, May 28, 2010

J.Crew Look-A-Like T-Shirt

There are so many embellished t-shirt tutorials out there and this one is so easy I almost didn't post it...but I love the way it turned out (in only 5 easy steps!)

I copied this J.Crew t-shirt:
1) Get an extra long t-shirt (mine is from H&M and cost $5).  Decide where you actually want it to hit and cut off the bottom (leaving an extra 3/4-1" for the hem).
2) Hem the bottom (I folded twice but once I did it I realized I really only needed to do it once since the jersey won't fray).
3) Cut the bottom piece into 3 strips of the same length (more or less) and decreasing in width about 1/4" for each one. You'll want to cut off the old hem as well.
4) Ruffle the strips and gather them to approximately 9" long.
5) Stack the ruffles and pin and sew to the shirt in the same position as the J-Crew one.  I highly recommend trying it on while pinned to make sure you like the placement.
Now just press and you're done!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


My last few projects have either been from patterns or too straightforward for tutorials.  I made my first (successful) shirt from a pattern, Vogue 8495.
I love the yoke top and especially the sleeves (well way the should piece extends out to a point)!  This fabric is actually the Liberty of London scarf from Target.  They've been getting such great reviews and they're big enough to make shirts!  I got both patterns but haven't decided yet what to do with the darker one.
 My other pattern project was this bag from Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing.  I used another pattern from this book for a gardening tote, and had a bit of a tough time following the written instructions with very few illustrations.  But after having done one pattern from her book I found this one much easier to follow and it took surprisingly little time to complete!
The strip of bias tape here is actually the opening of an outer pocket where you can put a magazine or newspaper.
I used a little of my favorite ginko fabric for the inside pocket.
I also made another skirt/shirt to dress creation.  The top I got at Target on clearance and the skirt came from a Betsy Johnson dress that I found at a thrift store years ago and could only wear as a swim suit cover up since it was huge!  I love the color combination and the dress is very comfy!
And finally now that I've been sewing for 8 months I decided to organize my fabric closet (instead of having piles of fabric hidden around the house in various bags and boxes like some very bizarre squirrel).  I doubt it'll last long but it looks great now!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Shoe Makeover 2.0

My original shoe makeover ended up being a bit of a disaster: the glue gun was not as powerful as I'd expected and I lost one decoration on the train a few days after I made it.  Luckily the original gemstones had been sewn on so there were already holes in the leather that I could sew through.  I whipped up these flowers (using an upholstery sample--no fraying!) and had whole new shoes in less than 30 minutes!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Easy As Pie Dress

I love skirts and dresses and wear them pretty much every day during the summer.  These dresses that look like a shirt and skirt seem like a great middle ground and a wonderful shortcut for those mornings when I have no time and nothing to wear.  Plenty of tutorials have been done about these (Grosgrain, Little Red Roost, Presser Foot has one coming up) and they're so simple you don't even really need one!
I used the standby Freshly Picked skirt tutorial to make mine (I wanted pockets).  I also added a lining, made the same as the skirt without the pockets.  Then it was just a quick two steps to attach the skirt to the elastic and the elastic to the shirt!  I used this great top from Target that I got last weekend (can't find in online).  Most of the other dresses I've seen in this style have been made from tank tops but I prefer real tops especially since I'm looking to add these to my work rotation.
To be completely honest I totally screwed the skirt up the first time I did it.  I didn't want it to be too poofy so I used much less fabric than I should have.  On top of that I lowered the pockets (for absolutely no reason) so I ended up with a too tight skirt with pockets hitting at my upper thigh!  Needless to say I spent a lot of time with the seam ripper, cursing my love of French seams.  Once everything was apart I just added an extra panel to each side, and with the busy pattern you don't even notice the extra seams!

This is definitely a quick and easy way to get a new dress, and even redo an old shirt you don't wear much anymore.  For the next one I want to do something like this (although with a lower waist).  I looked at it at the store and there is (small width) elastic only on the back where the skirt and shirt meet, and the tie is only sewn in on the front.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Boat Top

It's been quite a while since I've posted, but that's only because I've been working on presents that can't be seen yet!  One of them is this dress that I made for my brother's girlfriend.  The fabric is from Spool and is really soft.  I love how it turned out, although I'll need to make some adjustments for it to fit her.
But back to the main reason for this post: I decided one night after work that I'd like to make another top from scratch, now that I'm a bit more familiar with shapes and darts.  I'm also getting ready to make the coffee date dress and wanted to try out an all in one lining.  I used a shirt from H&M to get an idea of the pattern and just cut around it.
I wasn't really sure how to figure out where the darts should go, so I just approximated how far down from the armhole they should be, and how far in they should go (next time I'll have them go a little further in). 
Then I sewed one side together (with French seams), cut out the facing pieces and sewed them together at one side.  Next, following these instructions from Grosgrain's Frock by Friday Sew Along, I sewed the facing to the shirt, right sides together, everywhere except the top of the arms.  Then I understiched where possible (sewed the seam allowance to the facing), and notched the curves.
Next came the fun part of figuring out how to sew the arms together at the top.  I really have no idea how to explain it.  I just followed Grosgrain's instructions, thinking the whole time that there was no way this could work, but magically it did!  I'm so excited about this new technique--its not really complicated, you just need to do it once to understand how it works.

I finished the shirt with a French seam on the other side.  I realized after making the darts that I had cut both front and back pieces the same length, but with the darts the front was significantly shorter.  I didn't want to waste any material in the hem as it was already just the right length, so I used this great tutorial from Adventures in Dressmaking to add a hem facing.

I love my crazy geometric boat shirt!