Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas!

So busy for the holidays.  Lots of traveling and wrapping and eating so not so much on the crafting and creating.  I did get a lot of sewing loot for Christmas so I can hardly wait to organize my new table so I can break out the new sewing machine.  I am a-quiver with anticipation.

I hope you are all having a fantastic holiday.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Signs of Christmas

Well, I finally decorated my wreath.  The wreath that I hung on the door even though it wasn't decorated so nothing would happen to it.  Even though nobody but our paper delivery guy and upstairs neighbors will see it, I wanted a wreath.  So here it is before:

And after:

Hope you like, I just randomly put stuff on it until it looked done.  Flying by the seat of one's pants can occasionally work out.

Too bad the tree did not fare as well.  Despite keeping it watered, it has died a slow death.  Oh well.  I don't normally get a tree in until Christmas Eve, so this getting a tree a month in advance is new to me.  Probably won't repeat the experience if this is what happens.  Or maybe the tree didn't like my apartment and went on a thirst strike.  The world will never know.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Valiant Attempt

So I just found out about a baby shower next sunday and I don't have a gift.  Normally not a problem, I could just pop out and buy something.  Two problems:

1. The proud mama has to fly back home after the shower so she has to be able to take it with her in her existing luggage.
2. I'm trying to not just buy things anymore, I'd like to make something if I can.

So was born the Bib Project.  I figured I'd have the best chance of completing something (relatively) simple, and since my new sewing machine is still hostage to the big guy in the red suit, it has to be something I can sew by hand.  I found a pattern here that is looked fairly simple.  The baby is a boy, so I wanted the color to be appropriately masculine, just in case that matters to the mama.  Looking around, I found a red cotton shirt and a bright blue terry cloth washcloth I could cannibalize, so the Bib Project was a go.

And the blue on the red was kindof plain so I attempted to embroider a sailboat on the blue.  Boyfried looked at it and identified it as a sailboat, so I guess it came out okay.  Here is the work in progress so far:

Just have to finish overcasting the edge of the red, attached the blue, and sew on ribbons to tie in the back.  Hope I can finish by saturday - and that it comes out fit for gifting.  Guess we'll see.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Can I Just Give My Paycheck Every Month?

Would that be easier?  Went to the craft store today with the best intentions.  I have to decorate a wreath and finish a scrapbook for my friends' wedding.  I thought having solid goals would help - I was so wrong.  How tempting are you clearance bins.  You know my weakness.  Only $0.49, only $0.25, surely you can afford that, why not take two?  I must have spent an hour digging through the bins they have so I could look at everything.  I did actually found some stuff I needed, the rest . . . well . . . I'll use it eventually I'm sure.

My favorite deal was this guy:
Needless to say, did not buy.  Though I shouldn't be patting myself on the back.  60% off regular plus clearance equals let's revisit this when I reconcile my bank statement and not before.  At least this store doesn't carry fabric.  Patterns are on my to do list to find.  Harder to find in petite sizes, but I'll muddle through I'm sure.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Halloween 2010 Revisited

So I haven't figured out what I want to work on now that my cardigan alteration is complete.  I have some old undershirts of the boyfriend that I want to turn into cleaning rags, but that isn't terribly interesting - just cutting and finishing edges.

So here are some pics of stuff I made for my Halloween costume this year.  I was Leia from Endor in Return of the Jedi.  The poncho was courtesy of my awesome Mom: 2-ish yards of camo fabric folded over, edges finished with stitch witchery, and the gathered fabric at the neck sewn in.  Boots I already had and some thrifted blue pants and some yellow ribbon ironed on with more stitch witchery.  The stuff I made to go with are:

The helmet, believe it or not, started out life as a bicycle helmet I bought for $15 used.  A lot of scrap cardboard and masking tape later I had the form finished to add detail and paint to.  The ridges on top are strips of leather thong glued on and covered with more masking tape.  Thanks to boyfriend for being my hand model here.

Can't brave the wilds of Endor without a blaster to take down any pesky empire thugs wandering around.  The blaster started life as scrap cardboard for the basic shape.  Pencils were taped on to both sides for shape.  I used manila folder strips to wrap around the pencils to make the blaster round.  More finessing of the details, and a lot of electrical tape for color, and voila!  A blaster.  Masking tape colored red on the end to avoid police involvement.  It is a fake gun officer, I swear!  Oh! And a holster of course.  I wanted the holster to hang well from my belt so I got some suede for it.  Did you know suede is very hard to sew by hand?  Lots of swearing later I hit on using pliers to hold the needle so I could put more force and leverage behind pushing the needle through both layers.  Still more swearing later it was done.  Thank goodness for a simple fold-over holster design.

Final touch was a belt pouch.  Leia had one, but mine had to hold all my stuff since I figured a purse would ruin the effect.  Not wanting to subject myself to the suede hell again, I opted for cheap felt instead.  It doesn't hold its shape well, but it did the job.  It was the last thing I made so I opted for contrasting belt loops on the back instead of worrying about matching.  Glad to be done.

Of course, since I was making a holster for myself, could I make one for boyfriend's costume?  He was Snake Plissken from Escape from New York.  Hmm, lots of stuff you can't get in the store.  Well, holster first.  No way was I making another out of suede.  Learned my lesson there let me tell you.  Felt it was.  Oh no, I'd cut up the sheets I bought so all I had left were strips.  No problem!  Some black thread and smallish stitches later I had this:

Then there was the final detail unaccounted for.  We had a lifeclock for his wrist.  No pictures because it has gone missing - not good if you have explosives in your bloodstream!  Imagine some cork cut to appropriate shape and covered with electrical tape.  Elastic strips sewn on for the wrist-band and numbers painted on top.

Snake also has that weird sleeveless shirt with zippers near the shoulder.  Not exactly something you can buy in a store.  Though apparently neither is a sleeveless shirt for a man in black.  Strange.  So an old black t-shirt was sacrificed to the cause.  I carefully cut the sleeves off the t-shirt with some additional chopping to get the shape right.  The top shoulder seam is longer for a t-shirt than a sleeveless shirt.  I sewed on zippers face down on the inside of the shirt then cut through on the right side to expose the zippers.  I was concerned I would alter the shape of the shirt if I cut the shirt first.  Marker applied to the collar completed the shirt makeover.

So I think I did more sewing for Halloween than I had done the entire year previous.  On the upside it rekindled my interest in making my costume instead of buying one.  Very fun, and much cheaper.  Hope you guys like!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Hand Sewing FTW

So, through some strange crafty spirit in the ether, having my sewing machine on its way, and then on my living room floor - see previous post - inspired me to alter a cardigan I currently own.  Alter by hand.  That's right, having a machine that will be officially mine in approximately two weeks inspired me to sew something by hand.  That I could have done at any time, having needles and thread in my craft supplies already.

So, since I did not think to take a before picture, imagine a black cardigan.  The length hits me about middle of the hip.  The width is boxy and definitely too big.  The sleeves come down over my hand unless I push the cuff up to my wrist.  Then the sleeves slack and hang loose in gathers along my arms.  Altogether it hangs on me like I'm a clothes hanger.  It has one redeeming quality - warmth.  My office can get chilly, so a cardigan that is nice and warm is essential.

Not having any kind of guide to taking in the sides and such, I decided to just wing it instead of searching one up.  The power of impetuousness and impatient.  I wanted to work on the cardigan now.  So I put the cardigan on inside out and felt along my sides to get a sense of how much extra fabric there was.  Enter pins to hold one side down and a tape measure to duplicate the pinning on the opposite side.  Some trying on and off to evolve a workable line that would look okay without pulling away too much on the sides (hopefully - cardigan doesn't have to button, those buttons are hard to fasten, but I'd like it to look like it could).

Well, seeing this tutorial on finishing the cut edges of a knit garment answered my only remaining question.  I adapted it for the inside side seams by folding over some ribbon I had lying around over top of the seam and sewing through it like so:

For the bottom seam I just folded the ribbing on the bottom up and sewed through it in two rows with small stitches.  I used the ribbing now on the inside as a guide for spacing the stitches evenly.  Below is the bottom seam, no pic of the sleeve, sorry.  Here you can see both the underside and the outside.  I like to think the stitching shows up as a subtle detail on the outside.

So without further ado, here is the finished product.  Kindof underwhelming - plain black cardigan - but a nice staple for my office that will keep me warm and work as a replacement for a suit jacket.  Sleeves are the right length and the bottom edge hits me at the waist.  And I look like a person wearing a cardi instead of a hanger.  Bonus.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

OMG Best Christmas Present EVER

So my boyfriend is awesome!  Upon listening to my neverending going back and forth on the sewing machine issue he totally made my day with the prosaic "What's the link?  Since you can't decide I'll get it for you for Christmas."  Me: "Okay".  Inside Me: "OMG OMG OMG YAY".

So now sitting on our floor wrapped by the nice shipping people is my present.  For some reason knowing it was coming, and then having it sitting on my floor just waiting for me, has inspired me to alter a cardigan I have had in my closet for a while.  A while as in I can't recall where it came from in the first place.  Maybe it grew there.  more on that later.  See and share my excitement:

Adventures in sewing

So I have been trolling sewing blogs lately . . and by trolling I mean obsessively reading every post in awe of the talent and imagination out there.  Eureka!  I could do this too.  Nevermind that I haven't sewn anything by hand since I was 10 sewing together uneven patches with my great-grandmother.  I can do this . . . right?

My mother used to make things.  I remember her sewing machine sitting in its huge case on the floor next to the table just waiting for her next project.  That was years ago however.  In a sign that coincidences do exist, just when I was thinking maybe kindof I could attempt to sew something myself, she tells me she has dragged the sewing machine out, dusted it off, and is making clothes again.  Hooray!  I could hassle her for help if I needed.  Thank goodness for a mother and grandmother who like to sew.

So being a newly reminted crafting crafter, what did I start obsessively searching for?  A sewing machine of course!  Had to have one.  Of course, I wouldn't have one in time to make Halloween costume accessories  (I'll post pictures of those later) but a girl can dream.  Finally I find out that is not too expensive for a starter will-i-won't-i-like-it machine.  Then the nefarious can-you-really-afford-it demon rears his head and reminds me of all the other things I could be spending that money on.  What a jerk, ruining my fun.  Sigh.

Begin at the Beginning

So yeah - my first post on my shiny new blog.  So excited.  I've been inspired by what a lot of other people have been doing in terms of sewing, refashioning, and generally putting their creativity to use making fabulous items.  I have always been a crafty person  (I may or may not have made a food shelf for my college dorm room out of a cardboard box and the cut-off flaps)  but it was always just small stuff for myself.

So here we go - an experiment in realizing my insane craftiness is not an anomaly or sign of the death of our economy.  I like to make stuff, and as many other people have noted, there is no need to apologize for it.