Friday, November 30, 2012

Well, Bust my Buttons! I won a contest!


I won the Pattern Review Refashion/Repurpose Contest ! I think?  I don't know how these things work, but voting closed last night and I have the most votes...I guess that means I won! This contest was right up my alley, and after entering, I certainly could see that I was in good company. There were some really cool projects posted by the participants, and there's lots of inspiration there. To repurpose and refashion is as old a concept as making dresses from feedbags, and it's great fun to dream up a new way use old or pre-loved stuff.

This good news was a great way to start the day...I was so excited to tell someone at 6:30am that I texted right away to share the good news. And then I remembered the time difference...yikes. But at least I didn't wake her up, and I knew she would be the one that would totally "get it."  This is an awesome sewing community, isn't it?

This week, I've been decorating my house for Christmas...under great pressure from another knitting friend who is coming for dinner on Saturday. When we were making our plans, she declared that she would not come until our house was fully decked out!

                                                 So, time's a wastin'...I've got more work to do!

Monday, November 26, 2012

painting projects and sewing a sweater

Well, this has been about the nicest Thanksgiving weekend ever. Being with family, eating what was decisively voted the best meal we have ever eaten...and by the way, who knew Rebecca could make such incredible pies!

While I know many people struggle with holiday time ( have you ever had Thanksgivings that were served up with side dishes of resentment, bitterness and loneliness?)  I was happy to be happy with the day as it was.

So what's leftover?  A zip-lock sandwich bag full of turkey and thoughts of winter and Christmas ahead.

JR and I have been spending LOTS of time working our business, which has involved hunting for treasures,

these little auction finds are for keeps!       
restoring and repainting, and doing lots of custom work. It's been good and satisfying...the kind of thing we love doing together. But that means the weekends are pretty busy, and some weeknights, too.  We've been fortunate to have developed a comfortable relationship with a shop owner who is moving our pieces out almost as fast as we can finish them...which is a blessing and a curse at the same time!
So, here's a few examples of what we've been up to:

Well last night, I just had to sew something. Don't you get that urge when you haven't connected with your machine in several days? It's like we have this co-dependent relationship or something. At least I'm pretty certain my machine can't live with out me, either. SO, I like wearing leggings on the weekend. Leggings and boots and.....whatever.

and every weekend, I struggle to find something with appropriate length and warmth for this time of year. I like the idea of sweater tunics, but good gravy...are they all chunky and short sleeved with huge cowl necklines???? And, I certainly can't do the shorter top thing with leggings...on no.  I need something long sleeved...and that covers my butt, and would play nicely with the vests I like to wear for an outer layer.

I have shopped around for weeks. Then I remembered Renfrew. I love the fit, I love the style. And I started thinking about how I could change up that pattern to make it tunic length. I just happened to have a sweater knit in my stash, too. So after years of hand-knitting my sweaters, I actually sewed one!

This is just the best solution ever! My modifications? Added 4" to the length, narrowed the sleeves. And since I didn't have enough fabric to cut two of the cowl pieces, I used just one and finished the edge with my serger. I like it this way, actually...not as much bulk.

And tonight, I'm fixing to sew up another one with a ponte print. My sewing machine and I are happy once again.

Remember to go vote for your favorite re-fashion project on Pattern Review! The voting ends 11/29 and I must confess, I'm secretly yearning for those prizes from Threads Magazine!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

a thankful confession

Am I thankful?

Not always, I confess.

Getting caught up in the day to day world of work and more work, wants and desires, keeping up with keeping up, and trying to find three more hours in a day can sometimes suck the thankfulness out of me and I have to hit pause, rewind, and begin a conscious recognition of all that I have and how little I really need.

While I long to have more meaningful relationships with family and friends, I pause to remember that I already have many of them that are covered in love, healing, honesty, forgiveness and joy…and I’m thankful for that.

When I feel lonely or forgotten, or sorry for myself, I pause to remember that I need to reach out to others and share what I have with those that are discouraged, alone or without hope.

I think on the blessings of grandbabies and the hope of their future.

I think on the moments of Life Sharing just in the last week….an idea, a tearful confession, a special found gift, an offering for a cause for which I may never witness the result, a song, a story, a book, a paintbrush. A phonecall, a text, a hug, silent moments. Vanilla from the pantry of a neighbor, God’s love, a surprise, the support of friends. A kind word and a full belly. A comfortable home.

Not a bad life for someone who can forget that from time to time.

I hope your week is filled with opportunities to remember blessings large and small

Thursday, November 15, 2012

And, my finished jacket!

I am totally in love with this re-styled jacket!  I was also SO thrilled to get it done in time to enter it into the Pattern Review Refashion/Repurpose Contest!  What a fun batch of projects that have been entered!

    The voting starts on 11/17/2012, so please stop by the Pattern Review site and vote on your favorite!

I am CRAZY about this jacket. It's totally on trend with the mixed media look, but still classic in it's own way. I love the fit, and the fact that it only cost me:

jacket: $4.00 ( half off day!)
fur collar: $.99
sweater: $1.99
1/2 yard faux leather : $4.25 (Joann's $8.49 a yard on sale)
2 7" pocket zippers: $3.25 (Joann's 50% off)
1 18" separating zipper: $4.75 (Joann's 50% off)

And that is why I love to re-style/re-fashion!

                                Thanks for voting at the Pattern Review Contest site starting Saturday!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

closing in on the finish...

Are you tired of seeing these jacket makeover details?  No worries, my next post will be the finished jacket!
I have been re-fashioning for quite awhile. In fact, I talk about that quite a bit in a chat with Lori in the Sew Forth Now Podcast  that you can listen to here:
 Return to Sewing 

I guess I like to share this whole process because so many people are intimidated by doing a re-fashion of an existing garment, when really, with sewing experience, you can do so much with the knowledge you have. It doesn't matter if you are a novice ( shorten or take in a thrift skirt, shirt or dress and add trims, change buttons)
(buttons changed, sides taken in)
(seams taken in, a complimentary store bought pin added to neckline)
 an intermediate seamstress (add sleeves to a sleeveless dress,  remove sleeves from a jacket to make a vest,  attach a skirt of your own fabric to an existing shirt)

 (elastic rows inserted in waist)
(thrifted blouse fused with seersucker fabric from stash)
(Sleeves removed from coat)

 or  more advanced ( remaking an entire jacket into a new design) I'm doing now!
With most of us being budget conscious, it's such a cool way to fashion a new garment for very little expense. Or to hone your tailoring skills, or to just let your imagination run wild. Add a zipper, change a seam, put in a can do it!

In this edition of my Jacket Re-Fashion for the Pattern Review Contest,  I am doing some joushing details to complete my design. 

                 I have added faux leather binding to the front opening of the I will add a zipper.

And at the last minute, I decided to insert some zippered pockets:
I marked the placement:
made the pocket zipper opening:

 attached a pocket bag and inserted the pockets into the jacket, welt style. Sort of. I really did wing it with this technique. I broke some of the welt-pocket rules in order to get them in, but hey, I get to put the pocket in any way that I want to, right?

When all of this was done, I hand stitched my lining back in place where it was needed. My fingers hurt...I forgot to wear a thimble and good grief, all that faux leather....
So, the last step is to finish that zipper front and add my removable fur collar...and show you the finished jacket tomorrow!

Have you ever tried your hand at re-design/re-fashion?

Monday, November 12, 2012

more jacket re-fashion's like magic!

As the jacket re-fashion continues, I'm getting more and more excited about the outcome. And I need to get a move-on! Only three days left!  There are some really great contest entries, so I hope you all check them out and vote on your favorite.

 So, here are more construction details for my Pattern Review Re-Fashion Contest:

After the Great Jacket Deconstruction,  I added  faux leather inserts  into the side seams. Let me explain something. I started with a size 12 Ann Taylor Jacket. That size is too small for this body, so I needed to come up with a way to make it fit me and at the same time, have it be a design detail. Why not choose a jacket that was just my size, you may wonder?  Well, I like the fabric, and I like the front closure and collar...which will be perfect for what I intend to do later.

So, I started pinning the faux leather in place in the side seams, connecting front and back of the jacket. Then I tweaked the fit by  re-pinning until I was satisfied. 

After sewing the seams, I used my serger to finish them. Later, I'll re-attach the original lining to these newly created seams.

To continue this faux leather design element, I decided that I wanted to add a strip down the center back of my jacket. To do this,  I first opened the seam where the collar joins the jacket back.
(looking from the outside of the jacket)

(and from the inside)

I basically freed the collar from the body of the jacket, just enough to be able to insert a 1 1/2" strip of faux leather plus the seam allowances. Then the back seam was split open, leaving the lining intact.

Speaking of seam allowances, it's rather interesting what you find when you de-construct a ready to wear jacket.  One side of the center back seam was actually less than a 1/4"!

No lie! If I had worn this jacket and sneezed, the back seam would have split apart!
Anyway, that got corrected. 

Next, I trimmed the back pieces so that the new strip, when inserted, wouldn't change the width of the jacket back. I sewed the faux leather strip to each side of the back seam:

Perfect!  Then all I had to do is reattach the collar!

The sleeves were cut from  a ribbed turtleneck sweater. Easy peasy..I just cut them out, leaving myself about a 3/8" seam allowance, and then sewed the sleeves into the jacket:

I used my serger to finish these seams.

I'm really liking the results so far.... next step? Trimming out the front and adding a zipper, then attaching that cute little faux collar!

I can't wait to show you!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

re-fashion contest at Pattern Review: my plan

Sometimes, I wonder where my head is. With holidays coming, and always a million and one things to do, I decided to take a job sewing six sets of matching girls’ and dolls’ nightgowns for a co-worker. But honestly, I’m a wee bit excited about it, because they are adorable, easy to sew and an opportunity for me to be creative and add some additional cuteness to each set. It also doesn't hurt that I’m getting paid well to do this job!

But first, I have yards and yards of draperies to alter for my girl….which is also, in a weird way, a very relaxing and fun thing for me to do.

And, as if I needed to put any more pressure of a deadline on myself: I have entered the Pattern Review Re-Fashion Contest.

I LOVE upcycling, re-designing, making something wonderful from something cast-off. While I haven’t done much of that lately, I have done several re-style projects in the last few years. So, my eyes have been pealed for the perfect parts to make a mixed media jacket. And earlier this week, I hit the jackpot of thrift finds:

A Jacket and fur collar,

a ribbed knit sweater,

and I will also be using a purchased piece of faux leather.

I’m really getting excited to see how it will all come together.

So a few nights ago,  I put my seam ripper to use and de-constructed that jacket, leaving as much of the lining intact as I could.

It's a mystery as to what will become of all this! It's like I had all the pieces, and I knew they would work together, but I just couldn't picture the final composition.  I really hadn't had the complete plan worked out until today while I was getting a massage....that's when it all came together in my noggin.

Of course, cleaning had to be put on hold. Painting projects got pushed aside. There were sandwiches for dinner instead of chicken and biscuits and homemade applesauce.

There was no reason to stress about my jacket....I knew I would formulate a strategy. I just needed  the right atmosphere and a relaxed mind...another  reason why massage is an important thing in life.

Stay tuned!