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1  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Kameez refashion- how to add fabric to a too-tight bust, make a cute top! on: February 14, 2013 03:44:45 PM


A couple of years ago, I scored this lovely kameez at a thrift shop. The neck was too tight, and the bust/shoulder area/sleeves were, too. And the inner seams were unfinished- they hadn't even been pinked, and the fabric was unravelling in places. But it was too pretty to walk away from, and at $2.50, it was a steal...and shoot, it *almost* fit!



And there were the pretty details, of course, such as these lovely appliques:



These are the kinds of things that I can't just walk away from! I kept it, thinking that someday I would have the skills to make it wearable. (As it turns out, it was more an issue of NyQuil-fueled bravery, and a mild fever.) About three weeks ago, I decided it was do or die- skills to complete it or not, I was going to at least start on it, rather than have it sit in my closet for yet another year. So, to start with, I removed the appliques. I then tore out the entire side seams, which the original sewist had done all in one length, from the undersides of the sleeves, to the hems at the bottom. After that, I spent about an hour, adjusting my faithful sidekick Dame Judy to my current measurements, and draped it on her. And then I was stumped.

There was the issue of the neckline being a tiny, tiny little square hole...and of the length of the dress. So I whacked about a foot off of the bottom, front and back, and proceeded to salvage all of the lovely binding/edging from the hems. Then, I tackled the neckline, something. *Shudder* I hate choky things!



The bust and shoulder were very, er, restrictive. My husband said that it was FINE, that it looked "hot", but it was most assuredly NOT. Did I mention my issues with choky and bindy things?

I have a pretty slender neck, but it still bound! It also had a hook closure and side flap along the shoulder seam. I ripped that out, sewed a new shoulder seam in on the closure side, and cut a new neckline more to my liking....



...And bound it with salvaged trim. After that, I laid the front piece flat on a table and placed the appliques in a pleasing new configuration, then pinned and sewed 'em on.

Then I was presented with the next problem: how to add some width to the bust/sleeve area? It took me over a week to figure it out, but it finally came to me: woven fabric or no, I could use the same technique that many folks have used to made a tiny t-shirt wearable again! Just add a strip of fabric into the sides and arms, and viola! But, because of the structure of a kameez, I didn't need it to extend all the way down. Parts of the kameez (like everything from the bust on down) were already plenty wide enough. The inserts would have to taper, and I'd have to make a y-seam in the sides, where the tapered ends of the inserts met with the seams. Spurred on by the common cold, and a combo of Sudafed and Benedryl, I got serious. Sorry that I didn't get photos of that process, but I will explain- first, I cut a matching pair of slices from my excess fabric, about 5' wide. I carefully pinned these into the bottoms of the sleeves, and down the sides of the top, fitted into the side seams. Then, I put on the top, scratching the holy Hell out of my arms and sides. Standing in front of a mirror, I pinned it at the points that the fabric of the sides would need to be joined at. Took it off (more bleeding ensued), flipped it inside out, unpinned the inserts, and started marking. The two points that the inserts needed to end didn't quite match, so I averaged the measurement for the length of the strips. I also marked where the armpits/sleeve seams would meet the inserts, so that everything would align when I sewed it up, and to determine where the tapering should begin. From there, I took a ruler and chalked two lines from the armpit seam points, down to the line where the inserts would need to end, at the middle of the fabric's width. This created a pair of rectangles with triangular ends. I pinned them in again, and sewed them into the undersides of the sleeves. From there, I created (by a great deal of trial and error!) y-seams in the sides of the bodice. I pinked all of the seams, to stop the unravelling problem, even going so far as to undo and redo several of them, to make sure that they'd STAY nice and solid. Then, I finished out the side seams, and hemmed the newly re-created top. Again, my apologies for not having taken photos of this process- I was too caught up in the moment, once I got started!

The result was this cute top:



And finally, on me:



So, if you ever run across a lovely kameez, and it *mostly* fits, remember, it CAN be altered to make a cute top! Just takes some engineering, determination, and chalk. (And possibly a little bleeding, if you haven't invested in fabric clips yet. This is now the next thing on my list of upcoming sewing purchases!)

 Happy Valentine's Day, all!  Grin




2  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / Butterick 5496, and my first from-scratch facings! on: January 20, 2013 03:21:50 PM


I've had this pattern around for a couple of years now, and finally, FINALLY did it! Used some fabric that I picked up at the Wally World for a buck a yard- thought it was some kind of synthetic, but lo and behold, the flame test says natural! Score! It looks and feels like raw silk, but I'm pretty sure it's not...not at $1 a yard!



Sorry for the crap pics- finally got a bit of time to myself. Changes made to the pattern: ditched the whole elastic waist thing, and cut three 6" wide strips of the fabric, selvedge to selvedge. Sewed them together end-to-end, then folded it in half the long way and made a loooong belt (this wraps around my waist 3 times and still ties comfortably!) Also did my own facings on the neckline, and rolled all of the seam edges under and topstitched them down. I really feel good about this one.  Smiley



Thanks for lookin'- hope all of you are having as great of a day as I have!  Grin
3  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Upcycled Pop-Bottle Beads on: November 25, 2011 02:09:59 PM


Had a houseful of guests for Thanksgiving dinner yesterday, and much to my delight, we went thru a couple of bottles of soda- so I finally got to try out a tutorial that I saw awhile back for making these beads. Probably old hat to a lot of you, but my oldest boy helped, and he was so proud of how they came out.  Grin (Guess I am, too.)



We're now talking about doing enough to make a garland for our Christmas tree this year. This is sooooo much easier than paper beads, and faster, too!

4  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Discussion and Questions / This showed up in my email- TELL ME that you couldn't improve on THIS! on: September 23, 2011 08:21:22 PM
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0038AMANY/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=fabulfruga-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399373&creativeASIN=B0038AMANY

OK, so this showed up on one of my coupon-site emails, and all that I could think was, "Wow! That could soooo be improved upon! For instance, if those rosettes were made to look like cinnamon rolls, instead...." What do you guys think? Would it be taking on too much? Is it worth the challenge?  Cheesy
5  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Microwave popcorn without the bag! on: February 05, 2011 08:20:29 PM


So, we've all heard about BPA's in our water bottles, cans, and baby bottles, and about how they mess with our kids' glandular systems (including their hormones), and how these are sometimes found in cancers, especially breast cancers. Thanks to an article that I read the other day, I found out that our microwave popcorn bags are LINED WITH THE STUFF, and more or less melt down into the popcorn! It's also laden with all kinds of nasty hydrogenated fats, and so on. So....
In order to STOP giving my kids a seriously contaminated batch of movie-night snackage, I figured out how to do micro corn, without the d*mned filthy, contaminating bag. Grab a 1.5- 2 quart Pyrex-type casserole dish with a lid. (It HAS to be microwave safe!) Into this, add:

1 t. oil (I used canola, but any cooking oil should work)
3 Tbsp. raw popcorn

I shook the casserole, sans lid, around to coat the kernels. Then, I set the microwave for 5 minutes, put the lid on, ran the corn in the micro, and watched closely. Ours popped most of the kernels in about 4.5 minutes. I then added sea salt, stirred it up, and had some FANTASTIC oil-popped corn for the boys! I would suggest that you watch closely, to make sure that you don't burn/undercook your corn, depending on your microwave, and to figure out what the right time is for your machine. But it's really good- crisp, tastes like actual popcorn, and is just as convenient as the bagged stuff- without the extra chemicals.  Grin


6  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Tutorial: Wirework Necklace, featuring the Greenblue Burst Pendant! on: October 05, 2009 01:48:21 PM
  This is a necklace that I made to showcase an art clay pendant made by Sharleen Newland, of Shaterra Clay Studio (http://www.shaterraclaystudio.com/ or http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=26418).    This is a rather long necklace, 14” per side, not counting the pendant's length- probably going to remove a few links on each side, to shorten it up. If you want to make this in a shorter length, i.e., for a choker, just eliminate some of the spiral links, and use fewer between your hoop links- each link is roughly 1/2” long.
     I was lucky enough to receive this pendant as part of a Totally Tutorials (http://totallytutorials.blogspot.com/) exchange, where you get free supplies, in exchange for creating a tute for the finished project- so here's how I did it:

Supplies:
1 Shaterra Clay Studios Pendant, approximately 1½" x 2”
18 gauge silver wire, 12' or so
20 gauge copper wire, a few inches
24 gauge copper wire, a foot or so
8 or more accent beads, Ό"  to 3/8” each
1 clasp (or make your own!)

Tools:
Measuring tape or ruler
Ballpoint pen, or other small cylandrical item to use as a mandrel
Sharpie marker
2 sets of flat-jawed pliers (chain nosed or needle nosed, without teeth)
Round-nosed jewelry pliers
Wire cutter / flush cutter

Optional Tools (not necessary, but they make the little things easier!)
Nylon-jawed pliers (for straightening wire)
Small metal or needle files
Bent-nosed pliers (for those tough-to-get-at angles)
Anvil or jeweler's block (metal surface for pounding metals)
Small chasing or ball peen hammer

To Begin: Gently unwind your wire from the spool, straightening as you go. Measure and mark off 3” segments of wire- cut 40 pieces, or less, if you wish. These will become your spiral links. Then, mark 8 sections of wire at 2 ½" each- these will become your beaded hoop links. Finally, mark and cut a 4” piece- this will be your center (heart) link. Make sure to keep your pieces separated by size, so that you can grab 'em without having to think about it- you'll find that making the links zips right along, if you're organized! If you're using a needle file, file the sharp edges off of the ends of your pieces- it's worth it to do this, if you don't want your finished piece to snag on your clothing.

To create your spiral links: grip one end of a 3” piece of wire with your round-nosed pliers, and create a loop approximately 1/4” across (outside diameter).   Transfer the loop end of the wire to your chain-nosed pliers, and gently rotated it around, while adding wire to your spiral.   Do this in small increments, to keep your spiral tight, and flat.   When you have around ½” of straight wire left, take your round-nosed pliers, and creat a loop, in the opposite direction of the spiral, winding it back to meet the spiral. You should have a nice little spiral charm, with a hole through the middle.   Follow this same process with all of your other 3” pieces.

To create your beaded hoop links: create a loop at each end of one of the 2 1/2" pieces, a little under Ό".   Straighten them, so that they are centered on the shaft of the wire.   Center your piece of wire the barrel of your Sharpie marker, and gently bend your wire piece around the Sharpie.   Using a pair   of chain-nosed pliers, bend the ends up and out, so that, when your wire is fully rounded on the pen, the two loops will match up (you should be able to see through the two eye-holes at the same time).   Grasp the two loops with your pliers, and cinch them together, so that your wire is a nice, rounded hoop, and your loops are tight together.   At this point, if you wish, you can gently hammer the bottom end of your hoop on a block or anvil; this will strengthen your finished hoop, and gives a nice, shaped surface on that edge.   Otherwise- wrap the hoop, at the neck just below the two loops several times, with a bit of your 24 gauge copper wire. This can be done easily, straight off of the spool.   Cut the ends closely, and bend inward as much as possible, or leave longer ends and tuck inside of your wraps.   Then, cut a short (1 ½” to 2” length) from the 24 gauge wire, and wrap 3-5 times around one side of your hoop.   Thread a bead or beads (I used tiny copper washers, and some 5mm glass beads on mine) onto the long end of your wire; then wrap the other end around the opposite side of your hoop, the same number of times as you did on the first side. (Tip: to make your central, beaded wire nice and tight, start your second wrap a little ways down from the horizontal center of your hoop- then, when you're finished, scootch the wraps upward, to center. Instantly taut wire!)   Tighten your wraps and adjust them, then cut your ends and tighten down the cut ends, so that they don't catch on things.

Make some copper D rings: find something that is a bit under ½” across, and roughly 1/8th of an inch deep, and wrap your 20 gauge wire around it, to form rectangular or oval loops. Slide them off of the object, and snip them off, about halfway across one of the long sides, creating rectangular or oval jumprings. Alternate method: grip your wire about halfway across the width of your chainnose pliers, and turn, making a 90 degree bend. Flip your pliers, and create another 90 degree bend, about 1/8th inch down from that.   Then, bend wire again, so that it crosses the original end. Keep shaping the wire this way, creating a rectangle-shaped tube of wire. Snip off your new, rectangular jump rings.   You will need a total of 16 of these. They will be connecting the non-looped ends of your hoops to your spiral sections.

Start making connections: grip one of the spirals with one pair of your pliers. Grip the little loop on the outside of the spiral with another pair. Turn your loop Ό turn, to a 90 degree angle to the spiral.   Note which direction you have turned it; you're going to want to orient a total of 16 in this direction. You will want to orient another 16 in the opposite direction. You will need to leave a total of 8 of them un-turned; these will be connections with your hoops. Pick one of your un-turned spirals to start with- this is going to be the beginning (bottom) of one side of the necklace. Take one of your bent spirals, and open the loop on the outside, as you would a jump ring. Start making connections: grip one of the spirals with one pair of your pliers. Grip the little loop on the outside of the spiral with another pair. Turn your loop Ό turn, to a 90 degree angle to the spiral. Note which direction you have turned it; you're going to want to orient a total of 16 in this direction. You will want to orient another 16 in the opposite direction. You will need to leave a total of 8 of them un-turned; these will be connections with your hoops. Pick one of your un-turned spirals to start with- this is going to be the beginning (bottom) of one side of the necklace. Take one of your bent spirals, and open the loop on the outside, as you would a jump ring. Gently hook this around the spiralled part of  the flat spiral link, and hook it through the hole in the center.   Close the loop, connecting the two links.   Repeat, to create sections of spiral links, but always make sure that one end of your chain has a flat, unbent-looped link at the BOTTOM of the section, to connect to your hoops, except for at the very, very bottom end of both sides- this will be where you will be adding your central link, and those will require bent links.(For this necklace, I made graduated lengths of chain: the very bottom sections have 2 links, then a section of 3 links, another section of 3, then a section of 5 links, and the very top section, for behind the neck, has 7 links. To make sure that I was orienting the links in the chains in the right directions, I used a beading board, and laid out the sections, as I made them, but a towel or cloth would work just as well.)

Now, take one of your hoops, eye-looped end up. Pick up the flat spiral end of one of your lengths of chain. Twist it open, as you would a jump ring, and hook it through the eye-loops; close it.

Next, take your rectangular jump rings, and twist them open. Carefully thread two through a non-looped end of a spiral chain link. Hook one of your hoop links through the jumps; close the jump rings.

Continue to connect your bits and pieces, until you have the two halves of your necklace. Make sure that your bottom two lengths of chain END WITH BENT LOOPS. This will be important.
Gently hook this around the spiralled part of  the flat spiral link, and hook it through the hole in the center. Close the loop, connecting the two links. Repeat, to create sections of spiral links, but always make sure that one end of your chain has a flat, unbent-looped link at the BOTTOM of the section, to connect to your hoops, except for at the very, very bottom end of both sides- this will be where you will be adding your central link, and those will require bent links.(For this necklace, I made graduated lengths of chain: the very bottom sections have 2 links, then a section of 3 links, another section of 3, then a section of 5 links, and the very top section, for behind the neck, has 7 links. To make sure that I was orienting the links in the chains in the right directions, I used a beading board, and laid out the sections, as I made them, but a towel or cloth would work just as well.)

Now, take one of your hoops, eye-looped end up. Pick up the flat spiral end of one of your lengths of chain. Twist it open, as you would a jump ring, and hook it through the eye-loops; close it.

Next, take your rectangular jump rings, and twist them open. Carefully thread two through a non-looped end of a spiral chain link.   Hook one of your hoop links through the jumps; close the jump rings.

Continue to connect your bits and pieces, until you have the two halves of your necklace. Make sure that your bottom two lengths of chain END WITH BENT LOOPS. This will be important.

The Heart of the matter: Now, take your 4” piece of wire, and start another spiral on one end, with your round-nosed pliers. As before, use your chain-nosed pliers to add to the spiral, once it's started. Start another, facing the first, on the other side. Keep them equal in size- you'll want the whole piece to be about 1” long, total.   Now, using your round-nosed pliers, grip the center of the piece, and bend it evenly, creating a heart shape.   If you wish to, gently hammer the corner of the heart, to strengthen it. Also, at this point, you can wrap a little section of each side of the heart with your 24 gauge wire, to help stabilize your pendant when wearing it (it will help to keep it centered).   Connect your heart to the bottom ends of your lengths of chain, using the same method that you used to connect your spiral links.

Now, have you been wondering about that ball-point pen, that was in the list of tools? Here's what it's for: this will be your mandrel for the three jump rings that you will be using to connect your pendant to the heart-piece. Wrap some of your 18 gauge wire around it, three full times, slip the spiral off, and snip evenly across, making three jump rings. These will need to be large enough around to fit through your pendant and the bottom corner of the heart, around 3/8ths of an inch. Hammer them to harden, if desired, and then open them, and connect your pendant with your heart (as if it wasn't, in some way, already!  Grin

The finishing touches: add jump rings to the “top” ends of your chains, and attach either a purchased clasp, or make one, using your wires. If you make a double-thick hook clasp, wrap it in the 24 gauge copper, to tie it in to your chain's bicolor theme. A nice touch, also, is to add a dangle with an extra accent bead on  it, to the “loop” half of the clasp, and it makes it easier to find it, when you're trying to get your necklace on. (Sadly, I was unable to do this, as my beads had narrow little holes in them, and wouldn't fit on my silver wire!) Remove excess links, if it's too long, or add a few on each side, if it's not. Check over your connections, and tighten up anything that needs it.

I hope that you all enjoyed this tutorial- if you have any questions, about the techniques used here, or anything at all, feel free to PM me! Thanks for looking....

7  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / The Last Supper Blasphemer's Bathrobe on: June 27, 2009 03:28:42 PM
Ok, so the conversation went something like this:

(me) "Honey, I'd really, really like to get a new sewing machine- my grandma's is great and all, but it would be nice to be able to sew with something from this century. It's really a pain in the *ss, having to oil it and stuff all the time...."
(husband Mark) "Yeah, but you don't sew that much."
(me) "I would if I had a modern sewing machine!"
(him) "Well, like what?"
(me) "Umm.....you're always complaining that they don't make bathrobes with long enough sleeves- I could make you one!"
(him) "OK, but I get to choose the fabric!"

So, we went to the Walmart, and put a Singer Simple in the cart, along with a variety of accessories and notions (which I was able to convince him were ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY), and wandered into the fabrics. And there, lo and behold, was a fabric that he liked. But not for its original intended purpose. It was......Last Supper Pillow Rectangles Fabric!

OK, now, I try not to denigrate anyone's religious beliefs. But that ANYONE would be so uber-religious as to require throw pillows, 35" x 54" in size, depicting a full-blown version of the Last Supper.....it was simply staggering! I couldn't stop laughing, even as the nice gal cut us the length of fabric from the bolt. She kept looking at us both, as though we were completely insane (and I'm not sure that she's convinced of our sanity yet, though we shop there rather a lot....hmm, on further reflection, that may be the problem. Everyone seems normal, until you get to know them!) Wink 

So, behold the result of that strange transaction......










To take away the dotted "cut" lines, between the pillow square shape, I just took in the fabric, and sewed them inward, then laid out the fabric, and cut to shape for the robe pattern. Then, I whipped it up. Finally, Mark has a bathrobe that not only has sleeves of the proper length, but the whole thing is somewhat large on him- and that's a real achievement, in and of itself- he's 6', 225 lbs., and most off-the-rack stuff just doesn't "hang right" on him, even in XL sizes. He's happy, because it fits like a bathrobe SHOULD- it's a nice, voluminous wrap, that doesn't play "peek-a-boo" when he sits down, or picks up the paper from the front steps. He regularly shows it off to colleagues and houseguests. And he hasn't regretted the sewing machine purchase, ever since!  Cheesy

Hope this hasn't offended anyone- it was just too funny, not to make it & share it!  Smiley
8  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / Japanese printed wrap dress and knot bag- picture heavy! on: June 27, 2009 01:43:42 PM
For my birthday, I received two gift cards to Joann Fabrics, and found this great print, in the quilting cottons- I think they may be reprints of old kimono fabric designs. I had just seen the posts about the Japanese Knot Bag on here, and decided that the fabric had to become a bag. Then I remembered an older pattern, for a wrap dress, that I had on hand, and totalled both of the cards! Here's the result:








When I resized the original pattern, by approximately 30%, I forgot to mark out the sew-to lines on the sides of the bag, so there was a far-too-large gap on the side, when it was closed. After a bit of digging, I located an antique button, from my inherited button collection, and that solved the problem!



I lined the bag with some gorgeous red cotton, taken from a thrift-store sheet- the rest of which is probably going to be a dress and wrap hat. When I get the time! Wink

The dress is from Simplicity pattern #7111. The pictures here don't really do it justice- I feel beautiful in it, when I wear it! However, for posting purposes, I had Dame Judy, my trusty body double, model it for me.





Thanks for taking a look!  Grin
9  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / The Virgin Mary Jacket on: June 27, 2009 01:26:11 PM
A couple of years ago, I bought up a few denim jackets at a thrift store, with the intent to paint and otherwise decorate them. I started one of them for my mom, but, thanks to a sudden (and unexpected) pregnancy, only the painting was completed. Until last night! (Pardon the crappy painting- this was my first attempt at a human figure!) Ever since my dad passed away, my mom has kind of been collecting various religious icon-themed things (not limited to, but including, some Catholic stuff- which is funny, because she was raised in a Protestant church setting- but she likes the imagery.) And I knew that painting a decent Budda was definitely beyond my limited skills!




I trimmed the breast pocket edges, collar, and the shoulder seams with the same wide ribbon trim that I used to frame the picture on the back of the jacket. I also painted the edges of the side pockets with red paint, and trimmed them with the rick-racky stuff. I got the trims from the Walmart's sewing section.






This is the first time I've ever done this kind of thing- whaddaya think? Will my mom like this?

10  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Yet another Japanese Knot Bag on: June 13, 2009 04:35:11 PM



This is my newest purse- I increased the size on the original by about 30%. Since the copier was down, I did this using math skills that I *thought* were long gone....unfortunately, I did not sew up the sides as far as I should have. To remedy that, I added an antique button from my stash.....pics are not great, but we had a sudden slew of storms today, so natural light was just not an option... I also made a wrap dress in this same fabric, but again, light restrictions prevented further pics. Thanks for looking!
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