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21  Hurry up and get warm! I have a blue oxford sundress (with documentary) in Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed by MrsBowles on: February 12, 2008 10:11:11 AM
 So I'm calling this a documentary instead of a tutorial because I really, really just figured it out as I was going along and I'm not sure anyone will be able to follow this. I had to try it on a gazillion times to get the fit right in the bodice (and I have the pin scratches to prove it) ...but here goes:

before...I just loved the color of this man's oxford shirt (it kind of looks like denim but it's not)

and after:

And the documentary...
I cut off the sleeves and then cut the front from the bottom of the arm hole to the neck. I actually ended up cutting a little more off the top edge, angling in from the bottom of the arm hole to the button placket.

Then I cut off the collar:

I cut open the sleeves and sliced a 2" strip off the long edge of each sleeve, taking the seam edge with it. Then I attached the sleeve to the cut shirt front, right sides together:

Then I gathered the tops of the sleeves. One I gathered along the curved edge and the other in a straight line cutting off the curve just to see how they fit each way. I used the curved edge in the end because I'm big busted. It's pretty cool, cuz there's enough fabric there that you can move the gathering line up or down until it's just right for you:

Then I cut off the top of the back:

then I sewed the edge of the strip I'd cut off of the sleeve way back when to the gathers to create straps. Folded them over, stitched, and attached them to the back:

Then I finally got the nerve to cut off the excess sleeve. I tried it on and adjusted the bodice several times until I liked the fit. I lined up the top of the sleeve with the top of the back and adjusted the gathers along that edge, too, leaving the bottom 5" or so ungathered. This is when it would be great to have a friend to do your fitting or a dummy that was just your size. It was a real pain pinning under my arms by myself! I tapered down below the arm hole to blend with the shape of the sides of the shirt:

Then I stitched and trimmed the side seams.
Needless to say, the dress was already hemmed and I really liked where the pocket ended up. All I had to do was turn under the top edge all the way around and top stitch it. Then I made my final strap adjustments and attached them in the back.

I know it's going to be nice and comfy-cool when we get back to the 100+ degree months here in No. Cal!
Thanks for looking  Cheesy
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22  Disney B**ches Little Black Dress in Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed by MrsBowles on: February 07, 2008 04:29:52 PM
OK, first let me just say this is not like me. I don't buy into the idea of spending my own money to turn myself into a walking advertisement and pandering to corporate greed...
Well, there are a few exceptions...
That said, whadda ya gonna do when you're at the thrift store and, for 60 cents!! you find this???

Why, make a Disney B**ches LBD, of course!


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23  So simple yet I'm just tickled with this sweater...Tutorial added per request in Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed by MrsBowles on: February 01, 2008 07:22:44 PM
This idea came to me in that moment between awake and asleep. Sometimes those turn out to be "not-really-ideas" but this one was and so...

I took a boring old man's sweater, cut it off just below the bust line, turned the bottom half of the sweater up-side-down, resized it a little and sewed it back on. I did the same for the sleeves.

Ta da!



I sewed the bottom and sleeves back on with 1/4 inch seams, wrong sides together for a nice little detail.

Tweedy looking before

I had to do this on a dummy so I could take the pics. Definitely do this step on your body.
Mark the place under your bust line where you want your seam to be. At the same time, mark the spot for your sleeve cuts so they line up with the bodice cut. It won't look right when you take it off (unless you have biceps the size of your boobs) so don't try to figure out where the sleeve cut goes after you take the sweater off.

Mark the cuts on a flat surface and cut them off.

Cut off the neckband and slice up the front of the bodice.

Put the sweater on in-side-out. Overlap the front on your body to make a snug, but not stretched, fit under the bust. Pinch and pin the excess on the under side of the sleeves to make them less bulky but not tight. Mark the sleeve pinches on a flat surface. Sew along the marks and cut away the excess.
Turn under the neck edge and front opening and sew it with a narrow zig-zag stitch.

Put the bottom half of the sweater on up-side-down and pinch and pin the excess at the top to be, again, snug but not stretched.
Mark the pinch on a flat surface, angling out to the bottom corners to take advantage of the width of the cut edge. Sew along the line and trim away the excess.

Here are all the parts:

On my first sweater I sewed the bottom and sleeves to the bodice with the wrong sides together so the seam was on the outside. This sweater, to me, lent itself to having the seams on the inside, so I sewd them right sides together. Stretch the ribbed cuffs as you sew fit the cut edges.

Turn under and hem the bottom and the sleeves with a narrow zig-zag stitch, too.

You can see that the cuff ribbing is now sewn to the place where the sleeve was cut off. Likewise, the ribbing at the bottom of the sweater is now sewn to the spot under the bust where it was cut.

The sleeves look a lot better with an arm in them. Maybe I can post some action shots when one of my daughters gets home  Cheesy

If you decide to make one please post it and send me a personal message so I'm sure not to miss it. I'd love to see where people take the basic idea  Shocked
Please let me know if any of this is too vague and I'll do my best to clear it up.
Thanks Y'all, for all of the nice encouragement!
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24  Neck Tie Messenger Bag...OR... How I spent my Sunday afternoon in Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: Reconstructed by MrsBowles on: January 27, 2008 04:10:30 PM
So I was hoping this would be a good project for the boys (see this for an explanation) but it turned out kinda femmy...But I like it!

I took a pile of old ties (44 for $9 on eBay)...this bag took 7... and a butchered pair of jeans:

And turned it into a fun messenger bag Shocked

One jeans leg was used for the base of the bag. I sewed the ties to that. The other leg was used for the side/bottom gusset and the strap.  I had to use a super heavy-duty sewing machine needle (size 16) because the layers got a little out of control, but it all worked out.

In case you can't tell from the picture, the top of the jeans is sewn to the inside creating a plethora of pockets.

and on:

I guess I could make one just like it without the ties...or out of camo-pants. The guys might like that!
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25  Re: first post evar. plaid jacket in Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed by MrsBowles on: January 26, 2008 09:19:17 AM
Hi again,
I was able to brighten up your pictures a bit. If you save them to your computer you can use them to replace the ones you now have in your photo hosting and everyone will be able to see your nice work. Let me know when you get them for yourself and I'll take them back out of my photo hosting.
Good luck.

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26  A shirt from well... a shirt in Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed by MrsBowles on: January 25, 2008 07:53:55 AM
Not a lot of explanation needed here, I imagine. I used a pattern (Simplicity 5479 from 2003) and incorporated some elements of the original men's dress shirt into the new one (placket, hem, cuffs...). Kinda fun. I'm looking forward to really going nuts with the concept but this was just kind of a slap-it-together endevor. Wink




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27  Re: Oh No Please! Not another Hoodie! in Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed by MrsBowles on: January 25, 2008 07:29:17 AM
Thanks Ribble-icious,
I just took an old pull-over sweatshirt and used it as a pattern adding about an inch and a half to the back. I lined up the front edges because I used the skirt hem for that side. I would have added fabric there, too, obviously, if I'd needed to hem it.

If you look at the side view picture with the hood up (above) you'll see there is a gusset at the bottom front of the hood. That's because it didn't reach center front as it should have. Next time I'll measure the neck opening first and pivot the bottom of the hood pattern back enough so the hood reaches all the way around to the center front. Love learning from those mistakes!
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28  Oh No Please! Not another Hoodie! in Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed by MrsBowles on: January 24, 2008 07:51:17 PM
Yes, it's another hoodie. Inspired by MEZZI'S FABULOUS HOODIE TUTORIAL

So this is what's up. I'm a fiber arts teacher at an elementary school. I teach knitting, crochet, spinning, embroidery, sewing, etc, to 1st through 8th graders. I'm getting ready to teach a Reconstructed Clothing class to my 8th graders and I'm ridiculously excited about it, so I'm coming up with some before/after samples to get their creative juices flowing. If any of your have some ideas that might appeal the that age group (I'm almost 50) I'd love some guidance.

I have no idea if this is even cute but here it is:

before stuff

and after:

(Please don't tell me the "Gotcha+" is some house-brand of Wal-Mart Tongue)
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29  Waste-not bubble dress and skirt in Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed by MrsBowles on: January 24, 2008 04:05:04 PM
Boring ol' floral skirt...I cut the top off just below the back zipper. I used purchased fabric and really wide elastic to create the upper band. More fabric (no elastic) for the straps and the bottom band...a bubble dress!


The Dress:

The "Waste-Not" part: remember the top of the skirt that I cut off? I added the left-over fabric to the bottom of that an finished it with some brown bias trim...

There's nothing in my garbage can! Grin
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30  Skirt + Pants make top?? with mini-tute in Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed by MrsBowles on: January 20, 2008 10:09:02 AM
I took a cute 2 tiered chiffon skirt with an elastic waist and pulled it up over my dummy's boobs. Then I chopped off the legs of a pair of wide legged pants for the sleeves and belt. My 15-year-old likes it so that seems like a victory to me!

Measure from your bra strap to the desired sleeve length. Add 2" and cut off the bottom of the pants to that length:

Measure from your bra strap, horizontally, to the middle of your arm pit. Add 1" and open up one of the leg side seams (starting at the cut edge, not the hem of the pants) that much:

Make an elastic casing at the raw edge of the sleeve and thread through elastic. Secure the elastic to the casing opening that will be at the back of the top. Safety pin the elastic at the front opening to be adjusted later.

Pin the sleeve opening to the top of the skirt. Sew, starting at the center of the arm pit and working out. If you've used an elastic waist skirt as I have, stretch the skirt elastic out as you sew on the sleeve. Stop before you get to the front sleeve elastic opening. Try on your top and adjust the elastic to your comfort, then secure the elastic and finish sewing the sleeve to the skirt.

Cut 6" wide strips of fabric from the remaining pants legs and piece them together to your desired length. Sew the strip with right sides together, turn and press for your belt. You can use any kind of fasteners you like to complete the belt, hooks, snaps, even a buckle.

The top looks cute without the belt, too.
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