Saving the planet... one garment at a time!

... and one upcycle at a time... Welcome to my blog: A place to have an "over the fence conversation" about sewing, altered couture, upcycling, and all kinds of crafts using found objects, beads, ephemera and other vintage finds!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Box Tops

Hey!  Still working on the sewing room, but I've also been a little distracted with this box decoupage idea.  Here are some interim pictures.

Obviously very preliminary, but starting to take shape.

Also, my lavender linen is ready to cut, so I think I'll take advantage of a low humidity day and go do that!  Back to you Butterick 4228!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Bits and Pieces

I'm so happy, I actually won another giveaway!  I got a super package in the mail yesterday from Molly over at Molly Sews.  There are four patterns in the package.

These are going to be fun to play with. As I mentioned yesterday, I'm cleaning my sewing room.  While in that process I unpacked a bag of things I acquired at a yard sale about a week ago, and a lot of it is perfect for these patterns.  Some of this stuff is OLD, as evidenced by the bag some of it was packed in.

Do any of you remember Zayre's?  Wow!  Blast from the past.  I was very excited about my haul from this yard sale.  I got everything in the following pictures, AND MORE for only $6.50!  Gotta love the yard sale!

I'm seeing some very 60s-70s sewing ahead.  Also, the homeowner was clearly into lace.  This is a wonderful thing because I have several projects on the horizon for lace, including my wedding dress. I also want to do another Lady Mary Armistice Blouse, this time in cream and laces. 

I also snagged some cream satin ribbon,

and some pink satin that might make a cute flower girl dress.

Well, back to work I suppose!  Gotta get things prepped for my next few projects!  While cleaning, I'm also pre-washing that lavender linen for my sixties suit dress re-do.  What's on your slate this week?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Happy Happy Holiday

Wow!  It seems like a long time since I sat down to blog!  I gave myself a four day weekend, and it was great!  I hope you all had fun as well.  On Friday I got to take some pictures, which is one of my little side hobbies.  I can't wait to get a better camera so I can play around in this arena even more.  Here are some of the lovely flowers blooming near us in the Northeast right now.

I also got a lovely surprise from one of the boys on Friday.  He's been taking a shop course in school, and he made me this awesome box.

It has a little drawer.

And the top opens up.

With his permission, I was thinking of decoupaging some old sewing patterns (Down girls - ones with missing pieces that are too numerous to try to make) and some sewing graphics to the ouside of the box to decorate it.  Then I was going to use it to store notions and feet. What do you think?

Many other projects in the pipeline this week as well.  First off, I'm cleaning the sewing room.  I've kind of been letting things accumulate from the last several projects and that is never good.  Do you clean after each project, or do you wait several to give it a good once over?

While cleaning the sewing room, I'm also giving my machine a tune up using the free class available right now on Craftsy!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Completed Project: Upcycle Blouse

I completed the upcycled blouse yesterday, and today I'm going to wear it out to lunch with a friend!  I'm pleased with how it came out.  One thing I forgot to show you in the "before" pictures was that the original dress had a placket of functional buttons up the front.  I liked the faux pearl buttons, so I decided to incorporate this element into the top.

I made the button placket the center front of the top, but I made it non-functional by stitching the placket closed.  It gives the illusion of a button-up blouse, but it can't gap in embarrassing places!

I really need to get a camera with a timer and a tripod so I can take pictures of myself in my creations.  It's a cloudy day, so here's a poorly lit mirror shot just to show that the blouse fits!

Anyway, another project completed!  I'm excited to wear my new blouse.  I like how light and airy the rayon fabric feels, and I like the fact that an outdated dress was saved from the landfill.  Please let me know if there's anything in particular you'd like to see used in an upcycle!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Another Refashion Top

In my quest to quickly sew up some items I can wear everyday instead of that uniform T shirt and jeans, I'm doing another top restyle.  As a pattern, I'm using a me-made patternless top from about two years ago.  It's just a simple boxy, or crop, top.  There are no real design features (no closures, no darts) and it relies on the drape of the fabric to lend shape to the garment.

The subject of the upcycle is a thrift store dress I got for $4.99 on the same day that I scored the men's shirts.  It seems hopelessly 80s, but may actually be 90s.

It was originally a very nice dress, I'm sure.  It was a Karin Stevens, a quality brand.

What sold me on it for a restyle was the pretty floral print fabric, which, as you can see is 100% rayon.  Dry clean only - but I washed the dress and hung it to dry when I got it home.

And I'll have to think of something to do with the remainders because I do like the lace collar detail, but obviously not for this project.  Any suggestions?

Stay tuned!  I'll probably cut today and sew tomorrow.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Completed Project: Burda 8995

As scheduled, I completed the short jacket to go with my sixties sheath dress, Burda 8995.  The jacket came out really great, and it complements the dress nicely.  I chose some really cool buttons for the back of the jacket.

Sorry for the wrinkles.  I got excited and started taking pictures before the final press!  So, here's the dress with the jacket.

But my favorite is the back view!

Anyway, I hope you like it!  I'm thinking that this jacket would go nicely with a few of my other dresses as well.  Do you mix and match your outfits, or if something is meant for one outfit do you keep everything matched together?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Men's Shirt Upcycle

Remember the men's shirts I snagged at Salvation Army last week?  I decided to work with the blue checked one, which was $2.99 initial investment.

It's a very nice quality shirt - Polo by Ralph Lauren.  First I cut off the collar and the sleeves.

The I used some scrap quilting fabric I had on hand to make bias binding.  I used this to finish the neck and armholes.  Love the complementary colors!

I fitted the shirt to a woman's contours and added a sash made from the complementary fabric.

I made the back of the shirt into the new front, so all I have left to do is remove the pocket!

Even though the pocket still needs to be removed, I already wore the top out to do some errands.  Very comfy, and nicer looking than my usual T.  I'm pretty pleased with the outcome, but even if it was too "altered" for your tastes, you could wear it as a crafting or kitchen coverall!  What do you think?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Team SewMantra

I'm very excited to announce that in addition to blogging here, I am joining the team of Guest Bloggers at SewMantra!  Sew Mantra is a site dedicated to reuse, renewal and reinvention - all in a very original way!  The site founder is gathering a team of very ecclectic crafters and artists to contribute to a collective blog about this exciting process.  Since many of my inspirations are vintage, I just hope I can live up to all that originality!  Please visit me over there, check out the site and all it has to offer, and look at the cool stuff the other GBs are up to.  Thanks for all of your support!

Lesson From the Past:3 - Collar Craze

I went to college in the beautiful and historic city of Troy, NY.  Troy has many an historical claim to fame.  It was the home of Uncle Sam, the place of the first publication of A Visit From St. Nicholas ('Twas the Night Before Christmas) and it was the birthplace of the detachable collar.
The detachable collar was first invented in 1827 at #139 3rd Street, Troy, NY, by Mrs. Hannah Lord Montague (1794-1878).  Mrs. Montague was tired of scrubbing her husband's collars.  The inside of the shirt collar seemed to magnetize sweat and dirt, while the body of the shirt remained quite clean.  In answer, Mrs. Montage fashioned a detachable collar so that the shirt could continue to be worn while the collar was removed, and replaced with another, while laundering. Her husband, Orlando Montague, proudly showed-off his wife's invention and soon several commercial concerns embraced the idea, including the Cluett-Peabody Company, makers of the Arrow shirt.  Troy became a major producer of shirt collars for the entire country and earned its moniker as the "Collar City".
Women also embraced this new fashion creation.  Especially in the lean nineteen thirties and forties, detachable collars and faux blouse fronts, called dickies, were used to extend the wardrobe by making it seem as though one owned multiple different blouses.  One could wear one well made dress or suit and change out the collars or dickies for different looks.  Make and Mend for Victory includes several ideas for making these incredible wardrobe stretchers!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Refashioned Top: Frankenstyle

I was reading a thread on A Fashionable Stitch about refashioning.  Sunni was asking her readers' opinion about refashioning.  One commenter described the results as generally looking like a girl scout project gone horribly wrong.  I agree that sometimes it does seem that way.  I've seen many an item in Altered Couture, for example, that I would not be caught dead in.  However, that being said, I really enjoy refashioning, and I try to keep my stuff wearable by the average Josephine.  Here's my latest.  You be the judge, please.

I had a leftover Mom Jumper top portion.  You may recall that I made a sixties top wearable muslin from the fabric I harvested from the skirt of the jumper.

I ripped off the remnants of the skirt that were still attached.

I also had an old T.  Love the color (brings out my red hair), but it shrunk in the wash and was too short.  I don't like to be suddenly showing my tummy when I'm loading groceries into the car.

So I married the two together to make a new Frankentop.  The top now hits at my hips, so there's no danger of scaring small children and animals with a view of my tum.

Now, this is nicer looking than my usual hockey tournament T shirts for everyday wear.  Once it warms up I could wear this out and about.  I can even put a sweater over it.

Economically it works out well, too.  The jumper was $9.99, but I used most of it for the other top...I'd say $3.00 toward this top.  The other T was free, as I already had it and had stopped wearing it due to the shrinkage.  Thread, negligible... so, new Frankentop for about $3.00 plus labor!

Thoughts?  Girl Scout project gone horribly wrong, or CPR for unwanted clothing?  Let me know what you think (and I promise not to be sensitive!)!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Semi Completed Project: Burda 8995

I completed the dress portion of Burda 8995 today.  Still to be finished is the black short jacket topper.
My plan is to finish up the jacket next week.  I need to do a couple of little projects brfore that.  Then, back to my lilac fabric and vintage Butterick 4228.  I do like how the fabric complements this 1960s style sheath.

Please let me know what you think!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Lessons From the Past:2 - Shirt Shuffle

The Make and Mend for Victory book has been so much fun to read, and such an inspiration.  I have always been interested in reuse of discarded or unwanted fabrics, but this book has helped me to see things through my grandmother's eyes even a little bit more than before.  Having been a young woman during the Great Depression and WW2, she knew how to pinch a penny until there were tears in Abe's eyes!

I stopped into our local Salvation Army store the other day and picked up two old men's shirts.  Both are large sized.  One was $2.99 and the other $4.99.  And, of course, you may have a stock of worn out men's shirts at your disposal for free!

I have plans to modify these into women's blouses, but another chapter of Make and Mend for Victory had me looking at the many other potential garments hiding within these shirts.  Many of you have young children.  These shirts are ideal for making all kinds of garments for the little ones! Again, patterns of the day are used in these layouts, but modern patterns would work as well if you haven't a source (or the budget) for vintage patterns.

I hope this gives you some great ideas, as it did me!  Happy sewing!

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