Sunday, June 30, 2013

To Make: An Inexpensive Felt Pillow

felt pillowEveryone has seen those cute felt pillows with the sayings on them. I've been wanting one for a while. However, I simply cannot spend enough money on a plush object to equal a concert ticket.

Why not try to make one you ask? Because I can’t cut straight to save my life – an affliction I’ve suffered since kindergarten. To help me with this, I picked up some alphabet letters from the craft store to give this pillow thing a shot. You know the ones teachers use for their bulletin boards. (Ah, decorating bulletin boards. I’d always volunteer to do that in class.)

I chose the saying “Make Waves" to go with my beachy living room. 

For this project I used:
Felt Fabric
Black Sharpie
Alphabet Letters
Fabric Adhesive
Cotton Fabric
Pillow Insert

  1. Trace the outline of the letter onto felt using Sharpie and cut out the felt letters.
  2. Go over the black outline again with the Sharpie, so the letters will stand out better against your background. Be careful about getting the marker on your fingers because it can transfer to the felt.
  3. Iron the felt letters onto the fabric adhesive and cut of the excess.

  1. Make a wave pattern on the interfacing and cut out.

  1. Iron the interfacing onto the top of the cotton fabric for the front of the pillow. Then iron the letters on top of the interfacing. The front of the pillow is done.

  1. Make an insert pillow cover by sewing two overlapping back pieces to the top and bottom of the front piece. Then sew up the sides.

  1. Insert pillow and done.

Monday, June 24, 2013

To Do: Drawing vs. Buying

I'm going to file this one under look for opportunities as I'm always looking for ways to save money on project ideas. It all started when I bought a new rug from West Elm. I thought it made my place look a bit more stylish, so I started thinking of other ways to spruce up my room(s). Yes, I added a "s" because once you start in one place, the need for decorating spreads quickly to all the others.

My original idea was to buy a vintage swimsuit and frame it on the wall. But when you start searching the internet for vintage suits, you find that they can be quite pricey along with the frame, too. Then I thought of swim prints. After looking at various photos, it occurred to me that maybe I should try my hand at drawing.

Drawing something yourself means the labor is free. And I like free. It also means I can customize the look and color to match my taste and my living room.  I used photos of my favorite suits on the internet as my inspiration, sketched them up, colored them in with pencil and used marker for greater definition. Afterwards, I hung them up on the wall without frames because it felt more carefree. Now the place is a bit more summery.

One project done, more to go...

Thursday, March 28, 2013

To Sew: Nautical by Nature in Michael Miller Fabric

Vogue 5727

This is arrgh...guably the funnest dress in my wardrobe. I always wanted a dress with a sail boat on it. However, what's better than a sail boat? That's right, a pirate ship. I've always liked pirates since I was a kid. They always seemed adventurous, owned their own boat and traveled the world. What's not to love? I mean besides the plundering and the pillaging. To keep this dress from appearing too child like, I made it with a cowl neck. I think there's an air of sophistication that comes with a cowl neck dress. It says, "Someone please hand me a martini."

Vogue Pattern 5727 "Diane, sleeves, gloves and a hat? You're in Texas now, honey. It's way too hot for that. "

I did have a few issues with this fairly simple dress. I ended up draping it a different way in the front because I didn't like how it looked pinned. It didn't have arm facings, which keep you from seeing lines sew on top of your dress. I made my own, but I forgot that the front facing and the back facing need to be one piece, and I had to hem some fabric down at the shoulder. I'll know next time. I am pleased with the back, especially, how the red zipper stands out on the navy with stripes backing giving it a nautical feel.

With a ribbon, the dress has a cinched waist and better fabric movement at the top. 
The plain jane view gives you a better view of the design.

I was instantly drawn to Michael Miller's Making Waves print - the clouds, the boat, the waves. And while the anchor and the fishes are cute, they'll also draw attention to my legs. It's fun, but also flattering (Oh, look 2 Feet of Legs Underneath the Sea). 

My next project will be a fit and flare dress using Ann Kelle's "Hearts in Bright" fabric, which I have a challenging idea for. Then a little sewing break before working on some blouses.

Friday, March 22, 2013

To Sew: Turning the Table(cloth) - Orla Kiely remix


Truth is I never used this Orla Kiely fabric as a tablecloth. It was far too pretty to get some spaghetti stain on, so I always draped it off the back of some chair until I could figure out what to do with it.

I picked a vintage Simplicity 3299 Shift Kimono sleeve dress because I wanted a simple cut that would allow the fabric to be the centerpiece. I left the darts out. I didn't want any interruptions in the pattern.

The front is adorned with a simple tuxedo ruffle, a red ribbon to bring out the colors and my grandmother's butterfly pin. This is all so Julie Andrews in "The Sound of Music," but when life gives you material, you have to make some out of it.

I'm not sure if this will turn into a sewing blog, but it's definitely what I enjoy doing at the moment. I think I may have an addiction to fabric.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

To Sew: The In Bloom Spring Dress

In Bloom dress - m3000

I flipped right past the page of this dress in the catalog. In fact, I never would have picked out McCall's 6460 pattern if I didn't see an example of a dress on Sertyan's Sewing Corner blog. It was only then could I imagine how I could make the heart-shaped front dress look flattering on me.

While picking out a pattern that works with your body shape is 1a, picking out the right color of fabric has to be 1b. Creamy beige lace (found in remnants pile), green seersucker (also found in remnants pile) and yellow with hot pink heart tulips in words may not sound so great, but when combined in fabrics, works out wonderfully. 

In Bloom Dress - m3000

Photos of Origami flowers inspired the making of the flower (out of a piece of fat quarter fabric) with the white pearl button in the center. The polka dot belt is a thrift store find that I knew would come in handy one day.

What influences me:

Favorite Style Era: 60's and 40's

Designers I Would Wear If I Was A Millionaire: Tracy Reese, Kate Spade New York, Anna Sui, Marc by Marc Jacobs and Thakoon. However, I would still buy a nice Merona dress from Target.

Style Muse: The cute, little Asian girl who models for J.Crew. I think what would she like to wear as an adult.

What I Would Like My Clothes To Say About Me: I'm Fun!

Secret Wish: To be in one of those "cotton is the fabric of our lives" commercials.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sew: 60's Dress Done My Way

I was born to wear things from the 60's, especially the dresses. They're not as prudish as dresses from the 50's and not as over the top as the one's from the 70's. Ultra modern and distinctive - those are my favorite qualities in a dress.

I chose Butterick Pattern #4091 Dress C because of the front panel. It reminded me of something a London girl would wear while dishing to her besties about her favorite Beatle. Although personally, I prefer Led Zeppelin. 

As you can see, I made a few adjustments to it. I shortened the length of the front panel to hit below my waist instead of at the hips. I felt that would give my hips better definition. I also added the neck scarf and ribbon as a touch of playfulness. Black and white is nice, but black and white and hot pink is sheer delight.

mod dress

I kinda like sewing. I do find it incredibly frustrating at times as any beginner would. However, I like creating things. I'm intrigued by the possibilities of what a pile of material can turn into. I have the feeling that I'm going to go beyond my goal of "Sew 3 Dresses" this year. 

Dear closet, who knows what I will have in store for you in twenty thirteen.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

To Do In Air: A Date With Aerial Acrobats

I haven't crossed anything off my "To Do In The Air" list since parasailing 3 years ago. So this week, I'm making an appointment to ride in a plane that does all sorts of twists and turns in the air. What would make a girl do such crazy things you ask?

"In the air, I feel excited, calm, terrified and happy.
In other words, I feel ALIVE."

To Do in Air:

1. Skydive
2. Hang Glide
3. Fly a plane
4. Ride in a sea plane
5. Ride in a plane that does tricks
6. Parasail
7. Ride in a helicopter
8. Walk across a bridge that is really high
9. Ride in a gondola
10. Ride in a hot air balloon
11. Go to space (I figure by the time I'm 90-years old
this might actually be affordable)

Sing Along: "In The Ayer" - Flo Rida